Every sacrifice to be rendered for journalists’ rights: Afzal Butt

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MIRPUR: Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) President Muhammad Afzal Butt has said that they would not hesitate to render any sacrifice for the rights of the journalist community.He said that the rights of the journalists of Pakistan and Azad Kashmir would be protected fully as they were not tools in the hands of the government or any institution.

He stated that the government of Pakistan should arrest those behind the attack on Hamid Mir. He said this while addressing the journalists at Kashmir Press Club, Mirpur after a demonstration held on ‘Hamid Mir Day’. The day was celebrated to protest against the non-arrest of those involved in the attack on Hamid Mir.

PFUJ president further stated that they were there to fight for the rights of the journalists and not for survival of an institution, and added that all the institutions including media made mistakes.

Rawalpindi-Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ) Secretary General Bilal Dar, Union of Journalists Mirpur District President Muhammad Ameen Butt, Kashmir Press Club Mirpur President Syed Abid Hussain Shah, Chaksawari Press Club President Yasir Mumtaz Chaudhry, Press Foundation Monitoring Committee Member Raja Habibullah Khan, Khari Press Club President Raja Waqas, Raja Khalil Yousaf, Mumtaz Ali Khaksaar, Muhammad Rafique Mughal and others also spoke on the occasion.

Kashmir Press Club General Secretary Sajjad Jaraal was the stage secretary. Before this, a protest rally was taken out from Kashmir Press Club, whose participants chanted slogans against the non-arrest of those who made an attempt on the life of renowned journalist Hamid Mir. They marched on Press Club Road, Mian Muhammad Road, Allama Iqbal Road and Chowk Shaheedan. The demonstration ended at Press Club Mirpur.

Afterwards, a rally of the journalists reached Press Club Hall. RIUJ Secretary General Bilal Dar said that the journalists of Pakistan and Azad Kashmir would not rest till the arrest of attackers of Hamid Mir.

The speakers further said that they would continue their struggle till those behind the attack on Hamid Mir and those involved in the murder of 111 journalists were brought to book. On the occasion, Afzal Butt said that the history of PFUJ was unique as far as independence of media was concerned. He further said that the Pakistani journalists fought bravely against the violence meted out against them.

Afzal Butt said that they would make each and every sacrifice for the freedom of press and would not become a tool in the hands of any media organisation or any secret agency.Butt stated that the Constitution gave them the right to raise voice for freedom of press. He informed that they were not against any institution, nor they would tolerate the interference of any institution in their matters. He noted that all the national institutions had made mistakes. He remarked that after the attack on Hamid Mir, they tried hard not to add fuel to fire. He said that some elements were busy in meeting their heinous objectives but the journalists’ community would not be part of any such attempt.

Afzal Butt said that they would not tolerate any conspiracy hatched against the Pakistan Army. He stated that the statement given by Hamid Mir’s brother after assault on him, was in line with the right of freedom of expression mentioned in the Constitution. He said that they were trying hard to extinguish the fire and were eager to formulate a code of conduct for all.

He informed that they would demonstrate against the maltreatment meted out to any journalist, adding that no TV channel or newspaper was their favourite and they knew how to safeguard the rights of journalists.They will not stop from rendering sacrifices for the right of freedom of expression, he added.

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