Thursday, February 24, 2011

Glowing tributes paid to Minhaj Barna

PESHAWAR: Speakers here at a reference held Monday in memory of Minhaj Barna, a legendary trade unionist in the newspaper industry, paid glowing tributes to him for his struggle for the rights of the newspapers’ workers and oppressed sections of the society.

The reference was organised by the Khyber Union of Journalists (KhUJ) at the Peshawar Press Club (PPC) and was addressed by Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain, president Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) Pervez Shaukat, general secretary Shamsul Islam Naz, President KhUJ Arshad Aziz Malik, general secretary Yousaf Ali and senior journalist Shamim Shahid.

Pervez Shaukat said Minhaj Barna had waged a long struggle for the rights of the journalists and workers of the newspapers’ industry, adding that the present PFUJ leadership was following in his footprints.

He took pride in being a successor to such a great trade unionist and said that he had learnt a lot by working with Minhaj Barna, Nisar Usmani, Abdul Hameed Chappra and Ahfaz-ur-Rehman.

The president of PFUJ said a national level reference would be organised in which all companions of late Minhaj Barna, political leaders and representatives of the civil society organisations would be invited.

About the iconic personality of Minhaj Barna, he said that even after quitting the PFUJ presidentship, he attended union meetings and offered guidance. He credited Minhaj Barna for establishing the All Pakistan Newspapers Employees Confederation (Apnec).

Pervez Shaukat said the newspaper employees were struggling for the implementation of the 7th Wage Board Award. He said that 63 journalists had been killed in bomb blasts and target killings but nominal compensation had been given to the families of the slain journalists.

The PFUJ secretary general Shams-ul-Islam Naz said the struggle of Minhaj Barna was not limited to journalism as he had also fought for the rights of labourers, peasants, and other oppressed sections of the society. He attributed the inclusion of the Newspapers Employees Service Act in the Constitution of 1973 to the struggle of Minhaj Barna.

Information Minister Iftikhar Hussain paid rich tributes to Minhaj Barna for his struggle for a progressive society and social justice in the country. He said the struggle of the late leader of the PFUJ reflected the collective approach, but today the people were becoming followers of personalities. He said that Minhaj Barna struggled for the rights of working journalists. He dispelled the impression that political parties forgot sacrifices of the journalists in the restoration of democracy and said the role of each and every segment of the society was pivotal for strengthening democratic rule.

The minister attributed the present democratic system to the martyrdom of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto “There would have been no democracy in Pakistan if she had not offered the sacrifice of her life,” he said.

He added that the leadership of Awami National Party had also rendered sacrifices and top leaders of the party including Asfandyar Wali Khan, Afrasiyab Khattak and Bashir Ahmad Bilour had survived suicide attacks.

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