Tributes paid to founding journalist leaders
ISLAMABAD: The founding leaders of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) — I.H. Rashid, Minhaj Barna and Nisar Usmani — devoted their lives to freedom of expression and improved the working conditions in media houses.
This was stated by speakers at a gathering titled ‘Lest we forget’ arranged at the PFUJ office on Wednesday to remember the heroic struggle of the renowned journalists.
Chairman Press Council of Pakistan Raja Shafqat Abbasi said those who claimed that they had given freedom to the media should understand that journalists had actually snatched freedom after a long struggle.
He said the journalist community today was far better of than in the past, and this was because of the numerous sacrifices rendered by journalists.
Similarly, PFUJ President Pervez Shaukat said because of the services of the legendary journalists, PFUJ today was recognised at the international level.
“I.H. Rashid and Nisar Usmani not only served journalists but also struggled for the rights of labourers and earned respect from everyone,” he said.
Journalist C.R. Shamsi said during the last four years, PFUJ had suffered greatly.
“The death of Minhaj Barna four years ago and the sudden death of I.H. Rashid two weeks ago have been an irrecoverable loss for the journalist community. We can only follow I H Rashid by ensuring self accountability,” he said.
Mr Shamsi said in the past, black laws had been made to suppress journalists and every effort had been made to silence their voice. “But our leaders faced the period with courage and bravery, and even remained in jails,” he added.
Iqbal Jaffery, who had faced punishment during the tenure of Zia ul Haq, said Minhaj Barna and I.H. Rashid were always willing to train young journalists.
“Journalists of the current era have their own priorities and don’t have time to guide others about the ethics of journalism,” he said.
Likewise, journalist Chaudhry Khadim Hussain, who worked with all the three senior journalists, said things were changing rapidly in the media. “Media houses start debates when they fear that their freedom was at risk, but do not think of the problems faced by their workers,” he said.