The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) held a unique rally in media history on the occasion of International Press Freedom Day.
It was a major Shuhda-i-Sahafat (martyres of journalism) rally held by the PFUJ from its secretariat in Islamabad to Punjab’s capital Lahore to highlight the sacrifices of media persons. A number of journalists have lost their lives since 9/11 while performing their professional duties.
The PFUJ leaders also demanded conducive working environment, better and fair wages, protection of freedom of press, democratic values and rule of law.
During the 356 km-long journey, the media persons including correspondents, photographers, cameramen, journalists across the country assembled in front of the PFUJ Secretariat on Monday morning and left for Lahore in a procession of vehicles, led by PFUJ President Mr. Pervaiz Shaukat.
More than three dozen small processions of workers belonging to media organizations joined the main rally on GT Road.
The processions joining the main rally included those of Khyber Union of Journalists, Karachi Union of Journalists, Faisalabad Union of Journalists, and from Abbottabad, Haripur Hazara, Textila, Fateh Jang, Attock, Khizro, Murree, Kotli, Gujjar Khan, Dena, Jehlum, Chakwal, Kharian, Gujrat, Lala Musa, Wazirabad, Mandi Baha-ud-Din, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Sambrial, Narowal, Kamoki, Muridkay, Sargodha, Bahawalpur.
Throughout its way from GT Road to Lahore’s Ravi Tool Plaza, on at least 23 points, enthusiastic members of press clubs of towns and district and tesil correspondents welcomed the rally, chanted slogans in favour of the demands of the media persons, showered rose petals.
It took almost 10 hours to reach the Ravi Intersection in Lahore from the federal capital. Hundreds of working journalists and media employees thronged the Ravi Intersection to welcome the rally. Here a big procession was organized which left for Lahore. Over 200 journalists on their motorcyclists joined the rally.
They were wearing white shirts inscribed with PFUJ monogram and were led by PUJ General Secretary Rana Mohammad Azeem. Later the rally left for the venue of the meeting at Alhamra.
The PFUJ leaders were sitting in an open truck which was especially decorated with flags and banners of the PFUJ.
Apart from the PFUJ leadership, the President of the Lahore Press Club, Sarmad Bashir, President, National Press Club Afzal Butt, Chairman APNEC Nasir Naqvi, President Punjab Union of Journalists Rai Hasnain Tahir, alongwith PFUJ President Mr. Pervaiz Shaukat and Secretary General Shamsul Islam Naz reached the venue in more than three hours.
Throughout its way within the Lahore City, the rally was welcomed by traders, students, labourers, political parties, human rights activists, organizations, and they raised slogans in favour of media persons.
On the entire route of the rally, banners welcoming the rally, inscribed with the demand for freedom of the press, solidarity with journalists, supporting the demands of mediamen, eulogizing the sacrifices of the martyred journalists, and supporting the journalists demand for a rule of law, freedom of expression, end to contract system, implementation of 7th Wage Award, constitution of the 8thWage Board etc.
The rally terminated at the Alhamra auditorium, where a a grand seminar was organized by the Punjab Union of Journalists. It was attended by representatives of political parties also.
PFUJ and other unions of journalists leaders speaking at the seminar vowed to continue their struggle for the rights of media persons, freedom of press, freedom of expression, rule of law, democracy and just rights of media persons.
Shamsul Islam Naz Secretary General PAKISTAN FEDERAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS 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