By: Noor Aftab
ISLAMABAD: The journalists staged a protest sit-in in front of the Parliament House on Tuesday against non-provision of security to the media houses with the government officials pledging the comprehensive arrangements would be made to ensure foolproof security of the journalists in their workplaces.
The protest sit-in, staged on the call of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), was attended by the members of various journalists associations including Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ) and National Press Club (NPC).
Among others Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pervaiz Rashid, Opposition Leader in National Assembly Syed Khurshid Ahmad Shah, former federal minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, former Balochistan chief minister Nawab Ghous Bux Barozai, Secretary Information Saba Mohsin and Principal Information Officer Rao Tehseen were also present on the occasion to show solidarity with the journalists.
Addressing the participants of the protest sit-in, Pervaiz Rashid said all demands of the journalists had been accepted by the government to provide foolproof security to the media houses. “The representatives of the journalists associations and the government officials will hold a meeting soon in which the modalities will be sorted out to furnish security plan for the media houses,” he said.
The minister said that now everyone supported the slogan “Attack on one, is attack on all’ because the government, the security institutions and the media were united against the terrorists who wanted to destabilise Pakistan. He said that media had been playing an important role in war on terror and a number of journalists even sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.
Syed Khurshid Ahmad Shah said that the government should immediately take steps for security of the media houses and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) would stand with the journalists who are under threat from various elements. He said that the media had been playing an important role in war on terror and “I must salute to the services of the journalists who are pursuing their professional duties in the face of fear and threats.”
Qamar Zaman Kaira said that the journalists rendered sacrifices in the struggle for freedom of expression and always became target of those elements who did not want free and secure environment for the media industry.
PFUJ president Afzal Butt said unfortunately the time had come when the journalists who raised voice for the rights of the people were themselves not safe in their media houses. He said: “The culprits involved in murders of the journalists were not prosecuted due to which number of attacks on the media persons increased dramatically in the country.”
He said since year 2000, 111 journalists and media workers had lost their lives in the line of duty and statistically a journalist had died every 48 days in Pakistan for the past 15 years.
RIUJ President Ali Raza Alvi said the journalists were being attacked across the country and the government was playing the role of a silent spectator instead of taking measures for the security of the media houses.
RIUJ General Secretary Bilal Dar said that the media persons never ever compromised on their professional work and they were still fulfilling their duties in the face of grave threats.
NPC President Shahrayar Khan said that the government always made pledges for the security of the journalists but no steps were taken in this respect, adding “If the government will not fulfill its promises then we will again stage protest sit-in.”
NPC General Secretary Tariq Chaudhry said that the attacks on the media houses should also be a matter of concern for the government because it was its prime responsibility to provide security to the media houses.