Journalists’ protest: Firdous cancels Cabinet briefing
ALI RAZA & NAVEED BUTT
Islamabad: The sit-in of journalists against killing and threats to their colleagues on Wednesday forced the Federal Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan to cancel the Cabinet press briefing.
Journalists boycotted the proceeding of National Assembly and Senate and staged a protest demonstration and sit-in outside the Parliament House to record their protest against killing of their colleagues. The protest led by Hamid Mir, Nusrat Javed, Nasim Zehra and other senior journalists. They chanted slogans: “we want freedom”, “we want justice” and “Chief Justice should take notice of journalists’ killings,” etc.
Scores of journalists belonging to different cities and members of civil society organisations also joined the protesting journalists. Journalists have decided to continue protest until their demands are accepted.
Parliamentarians belonging to different political parties joined hands with the protesting journalists. They included Haider Abbas Rizvi, Wasim Akhtar, Abdul Rashid Godial, Sherry Rehman, Usman Khan, Haji Adeel, Zahid Khan, Nafisa Shah and Khawaja Muhammad Asif along with many others.
The journalists demanded constitution of a judicial commission to probe into the killing of their colleague Salim Shahzad and 74 other journalists. The journalist leaders rejected the government’s planned independent judicial commission headed by the Federal Shariat Court chief justice Agha Rafiq to probe into Shahzad’s killing. They called for unmasking the killers of 74 journalists through an impartial inquiry.
MQM leader Haider Abbas Rizvi condemned the killing of Saleem Shahzad. He said law and order situation was deteriorating in Karachi. He assured full co-operation of his party to journalists.
PPP leader Sherry Rehman said journalists were demanding their due rights. She said PPP being a party of masses would fully support the demands of journalists. She said PPP-led government would constitute a commission to probe into the killing of Saleem Shahzad as per the demands of journalists.
Khawaja Muhammad Asif, leader of PML-N strongly condemned the killing of Saleem Shahzad and other journalists. He said that journalists were paying price for speaking and writing the truth.
Zahid Khan of ANP said that killers of Wali Khan Babar were arrested, but the report was not made public. He said killing of Saleem Shahzad was a condemnable act. He urged the authorities to constitute a judicial commission to probe into the incident.
Federal Minister for Law, Maula Bakhsh Chandio assured journalists that the government would address the grievances of the journalists’ community. He said the government believes in freedom of speech and expression.
PFUJ President Pervez Shaukat, President National Press Club Afzal Butt and President of Rawalpindi Union of Journalists (RUIJ) Tahir Rathore said although Chief Justice of Federal Shariat Court Justice Agha Rafiq Ahmed Khan, who had been appointed as head of the commission, was a competent person but “we are demanding inquiry by a permanent judge of the apex court.” They asked the Supreme Court to take notice of the situation.
They said their protest was only to expose the killers of 74 journalists. They said that journalists had always supported democracy, adding they expect positive response from the democratic government. Representatives of the journalists’ bodies reiterated their demand to constitute an inquiry commission to probe into the gruesome murder of Syed Saleem Shahzad and threatened to widen their protest campaign till the acceptance of their demands.
They vowed to continue their struggle until their demands are met and the killers of journalists are exposed.
Source: Business Recorder