Journalists on Monday protested outside Parliament House against the killing of three Express News staffers in Karachi and warned of a country-wide protest if security for the journalists was not ensured.
While announcing two-day mourning, Pakistan Federal Union of Journalist President Afzal Butt said journalists will continue to work while tying a black ribbon on their arms to register their protest.
He criticised the federal and the provincial governments for their poor handling of the incident. When the world was celebrating New Year, we were mourning over the murders of our five associates but the government is yet to make a policy, he added.
President NPC, Shahryar Khan said our Interior Minister was crying over the death of a terrorist but he is unable to see murders of media workers.
He said the government is testing our patience as six journalists have been killed in January only. Chief Minister Sindh and Federal Government are responsible for these deaths, he added.
Senator Zahid Khan from Awami National Party (ANP) also joined the protest and said his party will stand with media at this moment of trial. Mian Aslam of Jamaat-i-Islami condemned the killing of Express News staffers.
Journalists and opposition lawmakers on Monday staged a walk out.
Deputy Chairman Senate Sabbir Baloch on the demand of the journalists also suspended the proceeding of the house for fifteen minutes. It is for the first time that the proceeding of any house of the Parliament was suspended. The proceeding resumed after the journalists were assured of addressing their concern.
Senator Zahid Khan of ANP, Abid Sher Ali and Aftab Sheikh of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz came to the press lodge to convince the journalists to end their boycott. Sheikh Aftab assured that government will arrest the culprits. He said that government is finalizing a comprehensive national security policy and there is also a component to ensure the protection of the journalists and their families.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 21st, 2014.