QUETTA: A day-long Fourth Seminar of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalist (PFUJ) on the topic of “Freedom of the Press & Resolution of Media Crisis concluded in Quetta with the resolve to fight for the Freedom of Press and expression and speech which is guaranteed in the constitution of Pakistan and resolved to take every possible measure including long march to be launched next month from Quetta.
Speakers belonging to political parties, bar councils, civil society, and office bearers of Baluchistan union of Journalists and Quetta press club and Baluchistan Editors council announced all-out support for the struggle of PFUJ for the resolution of issues confronted by journalists and media industry in Pakistan, that includes censorship, press advice, forced retrenchments from media house, delays in salaries, unjust advertisement policy of the federal government and non-implementation of 8th wage board award.
Addressing the seminar provincial minister for sports and culture Abdul Khaliq Hazara, underlined the importance of the freedom of press and speech, however, any kind of freedom should not be used to divide communities and society, on the basis of hat speech and sectarian and ethnic affiliation. “Only through the free press the goal of the progress of the country could be achieved as it ensures transparency,” he said.
Noted lawyer and former president of Supreme Court Bar Association Ali Ahmed Kurd who was presiding the seminar traced the history of the heroic role of the people of Baluchistan in safeguarding human rights and for freedom of the press since the creation of Pakistan. While quoting the Kulli Camp near Quetta which had a barbaric and torturous tail of state repressions he said the ordinary people used to pass on news and important stories to the press. “Due to long struggle for rights of people of Baluchistan by all communities now people of Baluchistan are more politically conscious and resilient and no force can suppress them anymore” he maintained.
President PFUJ Shehzada Zulfiqar while explaining the purpose of holding seminars in all the provincial capitals and last a national seminar in federal capital Islamabad, said is not initiate the process of dialogue and promotion of patience and endurance in the society. “ it is the responsibility of the media to unearth and bring truth to the people who are better judge to figure out what is wrong and what is right” he contended. He said any movement started from Quetta never failed and a long march for the resolution of the media crisis will certainly be another success.
Secretary-General of PFUJ Nasir Zaidi criticized the government for creating a serious crisis for the entire media industry in Pakistan as due to this some 8000 journalists and media workers lost their jobs and dozens of TV channels and newspapers were forced to shut operation even the consensus 8th wage board award is not being implemented. “We have announced a long march from Baluchistan as Baluchistan is a symbol of resistance and only rule of the constitution, the supremacy of the Parliament, respect to human rights and freedom of the press can steer the country out of the crisis” he maintained.
Spokesperson of the Baluchistan government Liaquat Shahwani spelled out provincial government steps for the media industry and for the betterment of journalists and media workers that include endowment fund and academy for the training of journalists and media workers.
The political leadership of Baluchistan actively participated in the seminar and termed the current political anarchy and state of freedom of press, expression d speech in the country alarming and dangerous for the unity of the country and demanded to forge unity among the ranks of various stakeholders and urge to join the single platform for launching struggle for achieving goals of human rights, rights of different classes, freedom of the press and forcing the oppressors and usurpers to desist from adopting anti-people and anti-worker policies. Mahayudin Baluch of BNPA, Syed Agha Nasir Shah of BNP, Mabaat Kaka of ANP, Dr. Atta ur Rehman of Jamat Islami, Dilawar Khan Kakar of JUI (F) Dr. Munir Baloch of PTI, Jan Muhammad Bulaidi of National Party, Abdul Rahim Ziaratwal of PKMAP, Haji Ali Muhammad Jatak of PPP in their speeches condemned the government’s tirade against media imposing censorship, and nonpayment of dues to the tune of Rs 6 billion pending with the federal government and announced support for a long march from Quetta next month.
Representatives of bar councils and media bodies, writers, and human rights activists in Baluchistan praised the long and heroic struggle of PFUJ since the inception of Pakistan and said the country and media industry is passing through the worst period of the entire history. Such a worst situation even never witnessed during the military dictatorships of Ayob Khan, Zia ul Haq and Pervaiz Musharaf as the current rulers have adopted dictatorial and authoritarian policies to curb and deny basic human rights of people of Pakistan and severely damaged the basic fabric of the society by imposing censorship and denying freedom of speech in the country, they said.
Salman Ashraf of BUJ, Muhammad Qasim Gajizai vice chairman of Baluchistan bar Council, Rahat Malik a noted writer, Anwar Sajidi of Baluchistan Editors council, Iqbal Kasi of Quetta bar, Zahoor Shahwani of HRCP, and Raza ur Rehman president Quetta Press Club said that political parties for the sake of political gimmicks mention press freedom and human rights in manifestoes during the election campaign, but ignore when they are elected and form governments in center and provinces.
Saleem Shahid Senior Vice president PFUJ presented a resolution on issues confronted by the media community and industry and for launching a long march from Quetta, which was unanimously adopted.
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