Fake degree holders ought to be ashamed, not furious
ISLAMABAD: Journalists across the country observed a black day on Saturday to protest the resolution passed in the Punjab Assembly against the media. Journalists’ bodies organised protest gatherings in almost all the cities and towns and took out protest rallies.
During their rallies, the journalists held that the fake degree holders should be ashamed of their act rather than expressing their frustration and anger at the media, which is playing a constructive role to build up a democratic society. They said that the resolution against the media proves that the fake degree holders mind it when they were shown the mirror. They said the fake degree holders ought to show some morality and quit assemblies.
The journalist community of the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi held a protest against the Punjab Assembly resolution and demanded that it should be immediately withdrawn. The demonstration was arranged at the National Press Club in which a large number of journalists, workers of media outlets and the CDA Labour Union participated.
The demonstration was held on the countrywide call of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) to condemn the onslaught on the media by members of the Punjab Assembly. Holding placards inscribed with slogans, the participants chanted vociferous slogans against the provincial government’s move to gag the media.
Addressing the participants, PFUJ President Pervaiz Shaukat said that the resolution passed by the Punjab Assembly was a calculated move to undermine the role of the media.
He said it was an attempt by the provincial government to divert the public attention from their failure to cope with the recent terrorist attacks in the province. He said the resolution could not be passed without the consent of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
“The media will continue to play its constructive role whatever may be the consequences. We will resist all overt or covert efforts to suppress the media, reflecting the public sentiments,” he added.
Rawalpindi-Islamabad Union of Journalists President Ishfaq Sajid said political parties were now trying to sidetrack from their role during passage of the resolution, which was not acceptable.
National Press Club President Afzal Butt said such steps were reminiscent of dictatorial regimes but would not be tolerated at any cost. CDA Labour Union President Mohammad Yaseen Chaudhry vowed that they would oppose all steps against media freedom and continue solidarity along with all labour unions.
Peshawar: On the call of the PFUJ, local journalists observed a black day and held a protest against the anti-media resolution.
The demonstration was led by Khyber Union of Journalists (KhUJ) President Syed Bukhar Shah, PFUJ Vice President Jamshed Baghwan and All Pakistan Newspapers Employees Confederation Assistant Secretary General Nadir Khwaja. The protestors were holding placards inscribed with anti-resolution slogans.
The journalists’ representatives said the media persons had rendered sacrifices for democracy and the rule of law. They said they never bowed to military dictators even though many politicians fled the country. They pledged to continue resisting the authoritarian policies of the rulers claiming to be democrats.
Through a resolution, the journalists censured the Punjab Assembly’s resolution and termed it an assault on the freedom of expression.
Lahore: Activists of various media organisations, political parties, bar councils, NGOs and civil society members observed the black day and staged protests.
Members of the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), PFUJ, Punjab Union of Journalists (PUJ), Lahore Press Club (LPC), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and non-governmental organisations participated in the demonstration outside the Punjab Assembly in Lahore.
Umar Cheema from the PTI, Amina Ulfat from the PML-Q, SCBA Secretary Raja Zulqarnain, Judicial Activism Panel Chairman Azhar Siddique, Advocate, were among the protestors, who expressed solidarity with journalists and condemned the Punjab Assembly resolution.
A great number of media persons from different news channels and newspapers gathered outside the assembly building and chanted slogans against the provincial government, parliamentarians holding fake degrees and recorded their protest against the slanderous resolution passed against the media. The protesting journalists demanded of the government to withdraw the resolution unconditionally and refused to hold talks with the government.
The speakers pledged to continue their protest till the withdrawal of the resolution. The protesters, carrying placards and banners inscribed with slogans against the Punjab government, blocked The Mall for all types of vehicular traffic.
CPNE President Khushnood Ali Khan said on the occasion the Council fully supported journalists and it would not hold a dialogue with the government till the withdrawal of the resolution. He said journalists should boycott the ceremonies and programmes being organised the Punjab government.
Punjab Assembly Press Gallery President Zaheer Shahzad said the resolution was like a drone attack on media men. The assembly members abused the journalists but no action was taken against them by the political parties concerned. He said journalists would not join any committee, formed by the government in this regard. He said the meeting would be held on Monday to chalk out a strategy to continue the protest against the government.
The People’s Labour Bureau, Punjab, also expressed concern over the adoption of the resolution and termed it an attack on its media freedom.
Karachi: The Karachi Union of Journalists held a protest rally in front of the Sindh Assembly building. The media persons raised slogans against the Punjab Assembly’s attempt to gag the freedom of expression. The demonstrators were holding banners and placards inscribed with slogans against the fake degree holders.
Meanwhile, speakers at a meeting held at the Karachi Press Club (KPC) condemned the ‘anti-media’ resolution in the Punjab Assembly, terming it a diverting tactics on the part of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to salvage its plunging popularity in the province.
Nihal Hashmi of the PML-N tried to control the damage by condemning the mover of the resolution, saying that party chief Nawaz Sharif had distanced himself from the resolution and directed the party bigwigs to take appropriate action against the MPAs.
“The Punjab Assembly should have passed a resolution against the fake degree holders and prove its transparency. Such MPAs are blot on the party and the sacred institution (assembly). We will take action against all the MNAs and MPAs who have committed this crime,” he said.
Naib Amir Jamaat-e-Islami Karachi Dr Meraj Ul Huda said that crooks and forgers had become the lawmakers and their conscience was in a deep slumber.
Former MPA Michael Javed condemned the resolution and said that he will be with the journalists in their struggle for the right of the people of Pakistan and any conspiracy against the media will be foiled.
Quetta: Journalists organisations held protests throughout Balochistan and adopted condemnation resolutions against the passage of the anti-media resolution.
Addressing a protest in Quetta, the Balochistan Union of Journalists President Abdul Khaliq Rind, Essa Tareen and others said that raising voice against fake degrees was their democratic and constitutional right.
They regretted that the PML-N, which had waged a joint struggle with journalists for independent journalism, judiciary and democracy, had approved a resolution against the media. “We strongly condemn it in strong words,” they said.
They demanded that action should be taken against the MPs for making their way to assemblies through fake degrees, and besides a ban on them, they should be sent to jails.
They demanded of the Punjab Assembly to withdraw its resolution against freedom of press with regret, or they would expand their protest.
Azad Kashmir: In Azad Kashmir, journalists staged demonstrations against the Punjab Assembly and the provincial government for approval of the resolution.
Call for the protests to express solidarity with the journalist fraternity was given the AJK Union of Journalists, Central Union of Journalists and the local press clubs.
The journalists held a demonstration in all small and major cities of the AJK, including Muzaffarabad, Mirpur and Rawalakot.
In Mirpur, local journalists brought out a rally from the local Kashmir Press Club Complex under the leadership of the club’s President Syed Abid Hussain Shah and others. People from various walks of life, including members of the business community, lawyers, social and political leaders and workers, also joined the rally.
Addressing the rally, speakers vehemently condemned the anti-journalist resolution. They said those holding fake degrees were, indeed, behind the resolution which, they added, was tantamount to gagging the voice of freedom of expression in the country. Speakers called upon Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to immediately move for the withdrawal of the so-called anti-journalist resolution.
They demanded of the Government of Pakistan to ensure complete freedom of press and protection to media persons in the country. The rally later dispersed peacefully.
Murree: The Murree Union of Journalists also held a protest against the passage of the resolution against the media in the Punjab Assembly. The protesters marched through the GPO Chowk to Chinar Chowk. Large number of tourists also joined the protest procession and expressed solidarity with the mediamen. The protesters having placards and banners chanted slogans against the Punjab Assembly members.
The rally was led by Imtiazul Haq, Sardar Iqbal, Zafar Raheem, Qari Shafiqur Rehman, Sudhir Abbasi, Aurangzaib Abbasi, Raja Abdul Rahman, Raja Afzaal Salim, Mehboob Lone, Sultan Butt, Taj Bokhari, Arif Saeed, Tayab Abbasi and other senior journalists.
Faisalabad: Media workers in Faisalabad staged a demonstration and organised a sit-in to express their anguish and resentment over the resolution. The demonstration was led by PFUJ Secretary General Shamsul Islam Naz, President Faisalabad Union of Journalists (FUJ) Ghulam Mohiuddin and General Secretary Qadeer Sikandar.
The demonstrators chanted slogans against the Punjab government and termed the resolution a deliberate move of the PML-N to hit the media workers and divert the public attention from the real issues.
Media workers carrying black flags and protest banners observed the black day against the government.
A large number of the representatives of civil society also participated in the demonstration to express their solidarity with the journalist community.
Multan: On the call of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), the Multan Union of Journalists (MUJ) and other journalists’ organisations observed the black day and staged demonstration in front of the Multan Press Club on Saturday.
Participants were wearing black armbands with gagged mouths to condemn the Punjab Assembly resolution against the media.
Attock: Like other parts of the country, a protest rally was also taken out by the journalists fraternity in Attock against the resolution passed by the Punjab Assembly against the media.
A large number of journalists and people from different walks of life participated in the rally. The participants were holding banners and placards inscribed with slogans against the resolution. They raised slogans in favour of the media.
Those who addressed the rally included senior journalists Raza Haider Naqvi, Rana Shoukat Ali, Yahya Butt, Hafiz Abdul Hameed and Senior Advocate Sh Ahsan.
Gujranwala: Gujranwala Union of Journalists held protest rallies to condemn the resolution. PML-Q workers, TI and Shabab-e-Milli, lawyers and members of civil society joined a rally in the district to show solidarity with media men. The participants started from the press club and marching along the GT Road reached Gondlanwala Crossing and staged a sit-in.
Dera Ghazi Khan: Journalists strongly reacted against the resolution and took out protest rally from Dera Press Club that culminated at the Traffic Chowk. District JI Ameer Sheikh Usman Farooq, former Tehsil Naib Nazim Hafiz Khalid and others participated in the protest as solidarity with journalists.
Kasur: Journalists of Kasur, Pattoki and Chunian also observed the black day. The main rally was taken out in Kasur City from Badia Chowk to the shrine of Hazrat Baba Bullhay Shah.
The journalists unanimously declared to boycott the coverage of the arrival of CM Shahbaz Sharif on Monday in Kasur and their boycott would continue till the Punjab Assembly tenders an unconditional apology to the media.
Hafizabad: A protest rally was taken out under the auspices of press club which was led by Hamid Taskeen Hijazi and Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Amanullah Chattha, Sunni Tehreek leader Syed Usman Shah Naqvi, PPP leaders Muhammad Arshad Mahand, Safdar Kharal, DBA General Secretary Ch Amanullah Sindhu and Anjuman-e-Tajran President Sheikh Muhammad Amjad. The rally started from the press club and ended at the Fawara Chowk.
Chakwal: Journalists took out a rally in front of the Chakwal Press Club (CPC) while a black flag was also hoisted atop the press club. The journalists wore black bands on their arms. The protest rally was led by CPC Chairman Khawaja Babar Saleem and others.
Toba Tek Singh: People belonging to various sections of the society condemned the Punjab Assembly members for passing the resolution against the media. Human rights activist Ashfaq Fateh expressed solidarity with media persons and hailed their role to highlight the real faces of the MPs. The media is like a mirror to the society, he added. Society for Human Development Deputy Director Rafia Salomi paid rich tribute to the media for showing Pakistanis the real situation in the society. She said that the Punjab Assembly members want to save their faces by enforcing various pressures on the media.
Vehari: The Vehari Press Club members protested against the politicians who passed the resolution against the media. Addressing on the occasion, journalists including Rana Javed, Rao Shahid Mehmood and others condemned the act of the Punjab Assembly and termed it a slap on the face of democracy.
Nankana Sahib: Journalists on Saturday took out a protest rally led by their president Ch Afzal Haq, which passed through different parts of the city and concluded at the press club. The participants chanted slogans against the Punjab Assembly members and demanded immediate withdrawal of the resolution. Later, they staged a sit-in outside the press club.