SYED ALI SHAH
QUETTA: Journalists have threatened to lay siege of the National Assembly and all provincial assemblies, if political parties failed to put forward legislation protecting the lives and jobs of media men in Pakistan before March 20 this year.
The announcement was made by president Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), Afzal Butt while addressing a seminar with regard to threats made against the media in Balochistan on Sunday evening.
According to Balochistan Union of Journalists more than 30 journalists were killed in the insurgency-hit province during the last seven years.
“We will mount pressure on the rulers to protect the media in Balochistan,” Butt said.
Besides journalists, Baloch political leaders, Pashtun nationalists and religious parties also expressed concern over the killing of journalists across the province.
“We will move a resolution in Balochistan assembly to ensure protection of the journalist community,” Rasheed Nasar, the central leader of Awami National Party (ANP) said.
Leaders of National Party, Balochistan National Party, Hazara Democratic Party, JUI (F), JUI (Idealogical) and other political parties also assured that they would support a resolution in the Balochistan Assembly protecting the lives and jobs of journalists.
“We will agitate in and outside the assembly for the protection of journalists,” Agha Hassan Baloch, the Central Secretary Information BNP said.
The speakers strongly criticised law enforcement agencies for their failure to arrest culprits involved in the killing of journalists.
“Impunity to killers appears to be a contributing factor regarding the increase in killings,” Shehzada Zulfiqar, a senior journalist said.
The speakers termed formation of a judicial commission to probe into the murder of over 30 journalists as a positive stride.
“We want protection of lives,” Irfan Saeed, the President Balochistan Union of Journalists said.
Khudai Noor Nasar, the reporter of Europe-based Mashaal Radio however said that all state and non-state actors want the media to follow their instructions.
“They want us to toe their line, whether fair or unfair,” Nasar stated.
The speakers lamented that during last few years 110 journalists were killed in different parts of Pakistan.
“The law enforcers were only able to arrest the killers of US journalist Daniel Pearl,” Afzal Butt said.
The journalist leaders demanded the provincial and federal governments stop paying lip service and take practical steps for protecting the lives of media persons.