LAHORE: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Punjab President Mian Manzoor Wattoo has dubbed the murder attempt on anchorperson Hamid Mir as ‘an attack on media and democracy’. He also maintained that the attack was undoubtedly perpetrated by anti-Pakistan and anti-democratic forces, which must be exposed and brought to justice sooner rather than later. In a statement on Monday, Wattoo said that the PPP and its leadership’s commitment to democracy and freedom of expression were unequivocal and unflinching. He recalled that despite reservations of massive rigging, the PPP decided to accept the results of May 2013 elections just for the great cause of continuity of democratic process in the country.
While underscoring the importance of the freedom of media, Wattoo said that democracy and freedom of media were inseparable and were two sides of the same coin indeed. They co-exist and supplement the cause of each other for building a pluralistic society based on tolerance, equality and interfaith harmony, he added. “It is for this reason that the PPP considers democracy as non-negotiable,” he said and added that democracy must be protected at all cost come what may.
“The PPP stands for the empowerment of the people and so does the free media,” he said, adding that both were promoting the same cause in unison with each other.
He recalled that the PPP had launched a struggle for the freedom of press during successive dictatorships and that its workers and leaders were subjected to victimisation of the worst kind but that they upheld the beacon light of unfettered freedom of expression.
He called upon the government to take all necessary steps to create an environment conducive for working journalists, who had become soft targets of maniacs.
It was so embarrassing that Pakistan had emerged as ‘the most dangerous’ country for journalists, he lamented.
He appreciated the overall role of the media for strengthening democracy and democratic institutions with sense of objectivity and said that only free media could assume this role effectively. The media had never lagged behind when the question of national interest was at stake, he added.
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