Friday, July 16, 2010

Jungle law reins supreme in Pakistan

Jungle law reins supreme in Pakistan

: Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has censured the apathy of the government and the judiciary in fulfilling their constitutional obligations to get the 7th Wage Board Award implemented which added to the miseries of working and non-journalists in Pakistan.

This is a classic example of the jungle law in the 21st century prevailing in Pakistan where the dictum ‘might is right’ reigns supreme”, a PFUJ statement issued on Thursday said while criticising the Pakistani Judiciary, regulatory agencies and federal and the provincial governments in the strongest terms for their complete failure to secure implementation of the 7th Wage Board Award.

The PFUJ pointed out with deep concern that the media persons in Pakistan were unable to avail their legitimate rights of wages and other fringe benefits as envisaged under the 7th Wage Board Award that was supposed to be implemented with effect from July1, 2000.

This single act of the Pakistani media barons who pose to be champions and custodians of “human rights, rule of law, civil liberties, independence of judiciary and the cause of oppressed and depressed classes had exposed their true faces and proved by their conduct that they were running the "business of media houses" for building up their mighty financial power, by sucking the blood of their workers and denying them of their basic fundamental rights with impunity, said the apex body of jouyrnalists.

The PFUJ said that it was an open secret that electronic and print media headlines, tickers, talk shows, programmews, editorials, reports, assignments, issues, comments and views always reflected that "Pakistani judiciary was on dominating, passing strictures against the government policies, severally criticising each and every aspect of the government functionaries.

This melodrama gives an impression as if there was no government or institutions in the country except the "Judiciary and Media", before whom every one had to bow down for survival.

In such a oppressive environment, one can easily judge the ruthlessness of the media owners who have attained the status of a "sacred cow" with open blessing and backing of judiciary ignoring all norms of law, rules, regulations, decency, justice, equity, fair play thereby forcing the media employees to continue bleed without redressal.

The PFUJ asked how and under what justification Media Pressure Groups were usurping the legitimate economic rights of media workers. The salaries and other benefits of the media-related employees were fixed in terms of an act of the Parliament, which was unanimously enacted by all political forces of Pakistan with collective wisdom.

Now, after almost three decades, the Pakistani Judiciary which is claimant of being a champion and protector of its independence, has been ruthlessly ruining all other organs of state in collusion with the "Media", who in return, is being rewarded by the Judiciary with a blunt edged weapon to slaughter the whole nation, and subject it to the worst kind of humiliation, agony, torture and provide it a free licence to suck the blood of poor media workers with prefect impunity.

The PFUJ further pointed out that the media owners had been given a free hand to flout the law and deprive the media workers of their due economic rights strengthened by the generous restraint orders granted liberally and unilaterally to them by the August Courts exercising and demonstrating full favouritism in the name of "independence of judiciary".

It was simply ironical that the Chief Justice of Pakistan, who was known all over the world for his sharp eye and for taking suo moto notices of injustices and common place and individual matters, had failed to take notice of the serious attrocities and injustices meted out to the media employees which had been perpetuated by the undue support granted to the media owners, against which the media workers had been protesting loudly for the last ten years.

It was a big question mark as to why the Supreme Court of Pakistan, known to be very active and keen in taking suo moto notices of violations of law, had been keeping its eyes shut on the serious violations of law, evasions of taxes, availing of huge levies and concessions and grabbing of precious state lands committed by most powerful and privileged class i.e. the media tycoons.

The PFUJ said that in consonance with the UN resolutions and declaration for the rule of democracy, primary responsibility for a democratic change lay on the society. At the same time, the international community could play a vital supportive role.

Indeed, demand for UN assistance in institution-building, elections, the rule of law, the strengthening of civil society and other key aspects of democracy had grown considerably.”

In line with the UN obligations, the Pakistani government was bound to ensure implementation of law of the land, which required constitution of the 8th Wage Board for newspaper employees which was due since Ist July 2005, and payment of legitimate benefits as per 7th Wage Award from Ist July 2000, reinstatement of all summarily sacked media persons job security, conducive working environment, implementation of labour laws in letter and spirit, protection of jobs for electronic media persons by amendment in Newspaper Employees (Conditions of service) Act, 1973 for providing protection to them, the demands accrued from the fundamental rights of newspaper employees which were a by-product of democracy, the PFUJ added.

The PFUJ urged all the national and international forces to support the Pakistani media employees in their just cause and legitimate rights.

Shamsul Islam Naz
Secretary General
12-Nazimuddin Road, F-6/1
Islamabad, Pakistan
Phone Office +92(0)51 2870220-1
Facsimile +92(0)51 2870223
Cellular +92(0)300 8665523

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