Shahbaz asks PM to stop violence against Jang Group, Geo Politicians, lawyers condemn hostile acts against media
LAHORE\ISLAMABAD: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has appealed to Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani to check the violent acts of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) workers against Geo News and the Daily Jang.
In a statement on Tuesday, he said no civilized society could permit negative tactics against the media. He said as the chief executive of the country and an important leader of the PPP the nation expected from the prime minister to issue necessary instructions to the Sindh administration to curb the undesirable acts to harass the media persons. The chief minister also condemned the siege of the offices of the Daily Jang and Geo.
Meanwhile, politicians belonging to various political parties on Tuesday condemned siege of offices of Jang Group and Geo in Karachi, the blocking of broadcasts by Geo, and the burning of copies of The News, and the Daily Jang.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Senator Pervaiz Rasheed, while strongly condemning the negative and cheap tactics against Geo and ARY, and The News and the Daily Jang, said in a statement that the actions against national media had disagreed the whole nation. He said as a Pakistani citizen, he was feeling shock that the old practice was being adopted for derailing democracy about the burning of bundles of The News, the Daily Jung and siege of the offices of media, he said such kind of incidents had happened in the era of Changez Khan and Halaku Khan when books and libraries were burnt. He appealed to the senior segment of PPP leadership having democratic approach to come forward and stop such negative tactics against the media.
He said the leaders like Raza Rabbani, Aitzaz Ahsan, Safdar Abbasi and Nahid Khan should play their role for promotion of democratic values and help prevent such actions against the media.
“When we came to know that such action is going to be taken in Punjab, we immediately sent a message to Governor Salman Taseer that if it happens in Punjab, Governor Salman Taseer himself will be responsible for it. The PML-N leader added. He said as the result of this strong message, he did not dare to do so.
Senator Pervaiz Rasheed said the Punjab government had directed the administration to provide complete protection to cable operators and media persons. “The administration and police should ensure safety of the offices of cable operators and electronic media. He said if any one tried to interfere in the working of electronic media, action would be taken against them as per law.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehtik-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan Tuesday condemned the blockage of Geo and ARY transmission, terming it a negation of democracy and the spirit of media freedom. In a statement issued here by the party’s media centre, the PTI chief called upon the government not to repeat what the military dictator had done to media a few years back.
Separately, former human rights minister Iqbal Haider expressed deep grief and shock over the most condemnable aggressive, abusive and intimidating attack on the offices of the Jang Group and Geo on Tuesday.
He said this attack for several hours, burning of the photographs of the owners of the Jang Geo and group and raising of most abusive slogans against them came only because the Jang Group and Geo had been exercising their rights to freedom of expression, broadcasting the pictures of the incidents occurred in the public meeting of Birmingham and they had been rightly criticising the policies of the government in a lawful and justice manner.
Haider, who is also a former attorney general, said if any political party had any grievance against any item published or broadcast on the print or electronic media, they had every right to refute and disprove the same by issuing their own version to the concern media. “But to ban broadcasting of any TV channel in such an arbitrary and vindictive manner is an unpardonable act of the government and the ruling party.”
Haider called upon federal and provincial authorities to take of discriminatory damaging actions against Jung Group Geo and ARY TV channels. “The authorities must ensure protection of the rights of the freedom of expression as well as life and properties of the media and working journalists, instead of exposing them to such aggressive attacks.”
Haider warned the government that such autocratic, vindictive actions in violation of the constitution and laws against the print or electronic media would inevitably tarnish image of the government, and also harm image of the country as well as shake faith of the people in democracy and democratic institutions.
Online adds: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Farooq Sattar said the blocking of channels and burning of newspapers was condemnable. Talking to a private TV channel, he said with such incidents, democracy couldn’t flourish in the country. He said the MQM had always voiced for freedom of media and had always come forward against curbs on media.
“I appeal to provincial and federal government to take note of media curbs and blocking of channels in various parts of the country.” He demanded arrest of the elements involved in arson and firing incidents at offices of cable operators. “If the incumbent government cannot accomplish its responsibilities to ensure freedom of media, democracy cannot flourish,” he added.
Meanwhile, Taking to reporters at the Peshawar High Court, Peshawar High Court Bar Association (PHCBA) Secretary General Aminur Rehman Yusufzai said the legal fraternity highly condemns the government tactics to gag the freedom of expression. He said the lawyers would stand by the journalists in this hour of trial.
“The Pakistan People’s Party must bear in mind the fact that it was the struggle of the mediapersons and lawyers which restored democracy in the country and paved the way for it to enter the power corridors,” he said.
Aminur Rehman said the government would have to come out of the feudal mentality of tackling the issues through force. He ridiculed the PPP action that democracy is the best revenge in view of its tactics to control the independent media. He said the PHCBA had convened a general body meeting today to discuss ways for extending help to the journalists in the current crisis.
Source: The News