Journalists threaten to siege Parliament if not given guarantee

QUETTA: Pakistani Journalists have threatened the blockade of Parliament and provincial assemblies, if political parties failed bring some legislation for protection of life and job of journalists before March 20 this year.

This was stated by Afzal Butt, President Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) in his address to a seminar with regard to threats made against the media in Balochistan on Sunday evening. The seminar was organized by PFUJ and was attended by journalists, political and civil society activists. Besides journalists, Baloch political leaders, Pashtun nationalists, religious parties and civil society activists also expressed concern over the killing of journalists across the province.

Balochistan Union of Journalists has apprised the participants of seminar that more than 30 journalists were killed in the insurgency-hit province during the last seven years.

Addressing the seminar PFUJ chief said the journalist bodies will continue to put pressure on the Government to ensure the protection of media in Pakistan in general and Balochistan in particular.

It is sad that Pakistani law enforcement agencies arrested the killer of American journalist in no time while nothing is being done to attest the people involved in killing of Pakistani journalist, Afzal Butt said, adding, “the law enforcers were only able to arrest the killers of US journalist Daniel Pearl

Butt demanded the provincial and federal governments stop paying lip service and take practical steps for protecting the lives of media persons.

Leaders of National Party, Balochistan National Party, Hazara Democratic Party, JUI (F), JUI (Ideological) and other political parties also assured that they would support a resolution in the Balochistan Assembly protecting the lives and jobs of journalists.

Rasheed Nasar, the central leader of Awami National Party (ANP) assured the participants of seminar that he will move a resolution in Balochistan assembly to ensure protection of the journalist community.

Agha Hassan Baloch, the Central Secretary Information BNP said his party will agitate in and outside the assembly for the protection of journalists.

The speakers strongly criticized law enforcement agencies for their failure to arrest culprits involved in the killing of journalists.

The speakers termed formation of a judicial commission to probe into the murder of over 30 journalists as a positive stride. The speakers lamented that during last few years 110 journalists were killed in different parts of Pakistan.

“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.