LAHORE: After issuance of a direct life threat to senior journalist Imtiaz Alam, journalist community, political parties and civil society organisations held a protest demonstration on Sunday.
Members of the Lahore Press Club (LPC), Punjab Union of Journalists (PUJ), Human Right Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA), South Asia Partnership-Pakistan Chapter (SAP-PK), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) participated in the demonstration to condemn the issuance of threats to journalists.
Speaking on the occasion, senior journalists Hussain Naqi, Najam Sethi, Kamran Shafi, Khalid Chaudhry, Ejaz Haider, Arshad Insari, Mian Shahbaz, Waseem Farooq, and Fawad Chaudhry, of the PPP, and Riaz Durrani, of the JUI-F, expressed their resolve to continue their struggle to ensure freedom of expression and against anti-progressive elements and terrorists in society.
Urging the Punjab government to provide adequate security to journalists, Naqi also demanded that the government must perform its responsibility towards ensuring freedom of expression and curb the Punjabi Taliban and stop them from threatening media persons.
He also urged the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) and the Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors (CPNE) to hold direct talks with the Taliban to stop them from issuing life threats to members of the press corps. He also suggested media houses to jointly hold a boycott of all terrorist organisations.
He further suggested the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), the PUJ and other media organisations to call for holding a countrywide movement against terrorism in order to secure the lives of their members and also to raise their voice at international level.
Regretting over thin participation of journalists in the demonstration, he also suggested employees of media houses and other entities to become united on a single platform after setting their differences aside for the cause of ensuing freedom of expression and independence of the press.
Sethi said that Pakistan is more dangerous country then Afghanistan. Unfortunately, he said, neither the government nor the media houses were giving protection to journalists and this is enhancing insecurity among workers. He urged the media houses to take solid measures to protect their workers. The workers should also enhance pressure on their employers to give them protection.
PPP delegate Fawad Chaudhry strongly condemned the issuance of life threats to Imtiaz Alam by the Taliban and said that his party would continue its struggle for a progressive and liberal Pakistan. He said that PPP Patron-in-Chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had also condemned the issuance of life threats.
JUI-F representative Raiz Durrani also condemned the issuance of life threats to journalists and said that his party would also continue to oppose terrorism at every level.
LPC President Arshad Insari said that he had received at least six threatening letters from the Taliban. He vowed that his community would continue its struggle for a progressive society. PUJ President Waseem Farooq said that terrorists could not suppress the voices of the media through issuing such threats.
Shafi and Haider urged journalists to become united in order to protect and preserve the freedom of expression.
Some prominent figures of media, political, and civil society organisations like Prof Aziz, Mohammad Tehseen, Anjum Rasheed, Mehmal Sarfaraz, Azhar Siddique, Sabir Shah, Ayaz Khan, Latif Chaudhry, Khalid Qayyum, Shafiq Awan, Riaz Bhatti, Shahzad Malik, Yasin Mughal, Salahuddin Butt, Tahir Bukhari, Amrez Khan, Zia Tanoli, Shahbaz Anwar, Asim Shahzad, Abdul Qadir Madni, Arshad Bhatti, Khalid Farooq, Saeed Akhtar, Waleed Ahmad, Atta Mohammad, Fazlur Rehman Butt, and Zafar Malik also participated in the demonstration.
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