May 30, 2016
ISLAMABAD - A meeting of the Unification Committee of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) was held Saturday and chaired by M. Ziauddin (pictured).
According to a press release, Hussain Naqi, Rahimullah Yousafzai and Shahid Ur Rehman were in attendance. Other members were consulted on telephone. A number of relevant persons especially invited by the committee also attended the meeting.
The committee reviewed its work to date and fervently assured the community at large that the process of unification was proceeding in the right direction and the achievements so far have been highly positive despite some obvious setbacks due mainly to manipulation by some media houses interested in making the PFUJ their pocket union. In case these media houses continue with their nefarious activity, the UC would be constrained to name and shame them publicly with evidence, the release said.
It said their shenanigans have been the main reason for the delay in completing the process of PFUJ unification. The UC came to realize this during its visit to Karachi. During the same visit the committee also realized that a handful of members of our own community have developed personal financial interests amounting to millions and, therefore, were bent upon going their separate way, come what may. That is the reason why the UC felt the need for conducting audit of the accounts of both the factions to find out how much each faction mobilized in the name of the community during their respective tenures since the 2013 elections and how these amounts were spent. The regular bank account of the PFUJ was frozen by their bankers, the National Bank, soon after two factions claiming to be the genuine representative of the community emerged.
The UC on Saturday directed the sub-committee headed by Rahimullah Yusufzai tasked to investigate the circumstances leading to the split in the PFUJ to submit its report by June 10.
Yusufzai expressed his desire to consult friends from Karachi Union of Journalist and other friends from Karachi before finalizing the report. In this connection, he and another member Shahid-ur-Rehman would visit Karachi to consult friends from Karachi once again.
Hussain Naqi went thoroughly through the evidence and information collected by the Unification Committee in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. He was of the view that irregularities committed by both the factions during the 2013 elections were of such scale that it looked more like a farce. He was of the opinion that the committee should voluntarily wind itself and confess its failure to bridge the gulf between the two factions or undertake to hold election for UJs and delegates to the next BDM.
But the alternative was found to be too time consuming and beyond the scope and capacity of the UC. It was, therefore decided to announce a firm election date before the start of the Haj season. And it was also decided to announce the names of election commission members and its chairman before June 10.
The committee also considered a written communication from Sattar Javaid, member PFUJ election committee 2013. He pointed out that both groups took part in election process, submitted nomination papers and fully participated in the balloting and counting process and that “the role of Mr Mushtaq Minhas was deplorable who snatched the results from Chief Election Commissioner and swallowed the result paper."
The committee was later joined by President of Khyber Union of Journalists, Saif-ul-Islam Saifee who conveyed the willingness of KhUJ to host the next BDM to elect the PFUJ office-bearers afresh.
The KhUJ president said that his union will make arrangements to host the BDM in Peshawar or Abbotabad. In this respect, however, he pointed out certain financial and administrative constraints and proposed that BDM be held in August to avert July, the hottest month of the year.
A delegation from Lahore comprising Raja Riaz and Shafiq Awan claiming to be representing Amin Yousuf, the secretary general of one of the two controversial PFUJ factions. Both factions stood defunct after the signing of the settlement agreement on March 16, 2016 by the faction’s President Rana Azeem and Secretary General Amin Yousuf who also joined the meeting later and made some cogent proposals. Former President of PFUJ Pervaiz Shaukat also spoke to the committee.
Journalists from Lahore supported the earlier decision of the unification committee that 2013 BDM should comprise the electoral college for next PFUJ elections. It was proposed that 2013 delegates who attended May 15, 2016 elections and those who took part in this election be given an opportunity to join the mainstream and attend next BDM scheduled in Peshawar/Abbottabad.
It was stressed by Pervaiz Shaukat that if two groups emerging out of 2013 elections created rift in the PFUJ, those who attended Murree elections were equally at fault. Give them an option to return to the main fold, he suggested. Those people who went to Murree BDM and took part in election must publicly admit their fault, representatives from Lahore said.
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