Saturday, January 8, 2011

PFUJ condemns harassment of Quetta based newspapers

ISLAMABAD: August 24, 2009. (PCP) The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has expressed its dismay and grave concern over terrorizing and harassing the editorial and other staff members of a Quetta-based English Daily “Baluchistan Express”, and an Urdu Daily Azadi, and termed it a direct attack on freedom of expression and press.

In a statement issued here on Saturday, the PFUJ said that reports reaching in the PFUJ Secretariat revealed that a heavy armed contingent of the law enforcement agencies had cordoned the premises of the English Daily - “Baluchistan Express”, and an Urdu Daily Azadi, newspapers for more than 50 hours and terrorized the staff members of the newspapers and visitors under the garb of locating “some wanted persons”.

The law enforce ring agencies also conducted a body search of each and every staff of both the newspapers and other visitors to the office. Not only this, the law enforcing agencies also reportedly compelled the visitors and staff to sit on the road for hours together before they were allowed entry into the newspaper office. They were also publicly disgraced and humiliated.

Such a high handedness by the law enforcing agencies with the media persons with the support of guns and uniforms caused mental torture to media persons on the one hand and on the other hand “sent asignal ” to the entire press of the province that if any of the excesses of the law enforcing agencies was made public they will have to face same degree of humiliation.”

The PFUJ said that the journalist community would not allow such uncalled for and abuse of law and shameless treatment with the media persons and would raise a strong voice it before all the forums both

within and across the globe.

The PFUJ said it is not only a serious condemnable case of human rights violations but was tantamount to usurping fundamental and basic rights of the citizens which made it obligatory that the “state shall be responsible to protect grace, honour and dignity of the citizens and allow every one to freely join any profession of his choice”.

The PFUJ further pointed out that being signatory of the Human Rights and Freedom of the Press Declarations, the Government is under obligation to facilitate the media persons to ensure a conducive

environment for carrying out their professional assignments.

According to the PFUJ, the unlawful act of the law enforcing agencies was tantamount to interfering in the privacy of the citizens. Regretfully, none from the provincial government nor the federal government took notice of such a serious and uncalled for incident which prima fascia indicated that the “they are also involved in this crime”.

The statement reminded that by and large population of the Baluchistan province, already having serious reservations of deprivation, and its political situation calls for a prudent approach by the law enforcement agencies as well as the government. In this backdrop, the maltreatment of the media persons and disgracing them publicly would further aggravate the

sense of deprivation.

The PFUJ urged upon the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take a suo motu notice of this serious incident of high handedness of the law enforcing agencies and their involvement of violating the fundamental rights of the citizens and attempt to squaring the freedom of press in violation of the conditions and universal declarations.

The PFUJ also called upon the human rights activities, and organizations to attack notice of such blatant violation of human rights and attack on the freedom of press.

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