The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has strongly condemned the act of the Chairman, National Language Authority to ban the first blind Journalist and columnist of Pakistan from contributing columns in newspapers and termed it a step to suppress the right of expression as envisaged under Article 19 of the Constitution of Pakistan.
The PFUJ pointed out that Freedom of expression was the right of every citizen as per Article 19 of 1973 Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan as well as the UN Charter - Basic Human Rights.
It is very unfortunate that Syed Sardar Ahmed Prizadah, a well respected and known Columnists, Writer, Editor, Anchor, who also served as a sub editor in a national newspaper and the first blind Journalists in Pakistan who has been denied his right of writing columns in newspapers on the pretext that there was a bar under Government Servant Contract Rule 1964 imposed by Mr. Iftikhar Arif, Chairman, NLA where he has been working for the last 22 years in Grade 17 as Public Relations Officer.
Mr. Prizadah had been contributing and educating his readers through his well thought and researched columns for the last four years after taking permission from the then Chairman NLA like other government servants. However, all of a sudden the present NLA Chief found that “a disabled blind under his thumb was violating the Government Servant Contract Rules.
PFUJ reminded that Chairman, NAA as well as a number of government officers were regularly contributing columns in various newspapers, besides taking part in talk show programmes in various TV Channels as analysts including Orya Jan Maqbool, Aslam Dogar, Dr. Hussain Paracha, Amjad Islam Amjad, Attaul Haq Qasmi, Perveen Shakir, Dr. Safdar Mahmood, Ibne Insha, and a lot of others yet no such restriction was put in operation against them.
The PFUJ expressed with regrets that in almost all the Civilized Nations, it was a universal phenomenon to support and give special attention and facilitate the disabled members of society. However, it is cruel on our part to nurture a vindictive attitude towards the disabled. Such an uncalled for act needs to be reversed as it could not be appreciated and could not be expected from a accomplished intellectual and a champion of humanity and freedom of expression, like Mr. Iftikhar Arif, PFUJ observed.
Critically analyzing the ban the PFUJ noted that it might be a problem of personal ego some one in NLA which was the actual hurdle and not the Government Servant Rule, 1964. We should appreciate the growth of blind disabled persons instead of targeting them by narrow interpretation of black laws.
Such great persons who have braved out life and emerged as brilliant intellectuals instead of becoming beggers, mosque bugs and a burden on society are very precious and valuable. Such an exceptional genius should have been lustily decorated. But what a pity that he is being targeted most unceremoniously, PFUJ added.
PFUJ strongly condemned such obnoxious acts from any quarter aimed at usurping the right of freedom of expression.
Mr. Iftikhar Arif is himself a known and top ranking literarily figure such a callous attitude from whom is not reflective of his personality and is simply unbecoming. Promotion of literature is exactly in consonance with the candidate of the NLA.
The PFUJ urged the Chairman, NLA to withdraw his own orders and protect a blind columnist instead of opening a new Pandora Box in the country.
The PFUJ also demanded to the Prime Minister, Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani’s peoples government to scrape the black laws like the Government Servant Contract Rule 1964 promulgated by the first Military dictator Ayub, which still holds and which was enacted with a motive to suppress free thinking and expression by government servants.