LAHORE, Jan 14: The sad demise of leading journalist and trade unionist Minhaj Barna was widely condoled here on Friday.
Veteran journalist I.A. Rehman said Mr Barna was one of the pioneering trade union leaders of journalists and he wholeheartedly worked for their cause. He said Mr Barna was a first class fighter for the rights of journalists. He worked a lot for the freedom of expression and set high standards in trade unionism that people today find difficult to follow. He used to write verse.
Former Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists president I.H. Raashid paid tribute to Mr Barna and said he belonged to the breed, which led the struggle for journalists and newspaper workers` rights. He was among legendary trade union journalists like the late Nisar Osmani, the late KG Mustafa and the late Haji Israr Ahmad.
Mr Raashid said Mr Barna was a man of commitment and courage and he fought throughout his life for working class` rights. He led journalists not only in today`s Pakistan, but also in the East Pakistan. He was the founding chairman of Apnec, which he founded to extend the scope of his struggle for the rights of journalists to newspaper workers. As a member of the 5th Wage Board, he worked hard along with Mr Osmani to ensure better wages for newspaper workers.
“I do hope that the present generation of trade unionists in journalism will continue his fight with the same sincerity of purpose,” Mr Raashid said.
Veteran journalist and trade unionist Hussain Naqi said Mr Barna was the main leader of journalists. He worked for the welfare of journalists and newspaper workers from the 60`s to 2000. He said better wages and freedom of expression being enjoyed by journalists in Pakistan today were because of the sincere struggle launched by Mr Barna.
He said Mr Barna served the community as secretary general and president of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists and formed Apnec to include the press workers into the movement. The strike he led in 1970 was a great success. Many journalists lost their jobs because of the strike but it established the fact that a united community could achieve a lot.
The South Asian Free Media Association expressed its grief and sorrow at the death of Mr Barna. In a statement, Safma secretary general Imtiaz Alam said Mr Barna was a legendary figure in the history of struggle for the freedom of the press. His iconic struggle inspired successive generations of journalists to uphold the flag of free and independent media. REPORTER`S MURDER FLAYED:
Supreme Court Bar Association President Asma Jahangir condemned the murder of reporter Wali Khan Baber. She described the murder as an attack on the freedom of the press in Pakistan and expressed the hope that the government would arrest the killers soon.
Safma also condemned Baber`s murder and said it was a grim reminder of a recent report of SAMC that declared Pakistan the deadliest country for journalists in 2010.
Safma called for immediate arrest of the killer and urged the government and media owners to take measures for safety and security of journalists working in danger zones.