January 31, 2018
HYDERABAD - The Federal Executive Council (FEC) of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) which held a three-day meeting in Hyderabad has passed resolutions relating to the situation faced by the media in Balochistan and attacks on journalists.
A PFUJ statement said the following resolutions were passed:
- PFUJ expresses grave concern over the situation in Balochistan where the journalists are under pressure from both state and non-state actors.
While one group insists it should be called separatists, the government wants the media to portray them as miscreants.
-The militant groups are threatening journalists of dire consequences and three press clubs came under attack during the last three months. Nearly 20 press clubs were forced to shut down while the distribution of newspapers also remained suspended for two months. Also, no newspaper was published for three consecutive days in Quetta.
-Although the situation has improved with the opening of the press clubs and resumption of newspaper distribution in the province, the threat remains. Now the United Baloch Army is threatening journalists.
-The PFUJ calls upon the government to take cognizance of the situation by relaxing hidden controls and allowing the print and electronic media to handle the situation according to their own needs.
-It also expresses concern over the FIR lodged by the government under Anti-Terrorist Law against 13 journalists of Quetta and demands immediate withdrawal of that FIR.
-It emphasizes that the safety of journalists is the prime concern of PFUJ and every step should be taken to protect them.
-The PFUJ also expresses concern over the increasing number of attacks on the journalists, particularly in Islamabad under the very nose of the federal government.
-It believes that the attacks by these state and non-state actors are specifically aimed at muffling the free speech and expression.
-The PFUJ expresses grave concern over the digital harassment of anchorperson Talat Hussain and lodging of FIR against Arshad Sharif by the government over a news story.
-It observes that the kidnapping attempts and attacks on Matiullah Jan (Waqt News), Aizaz Syed (Reporter Geo), Ahmad Noorani (Reporter The News) and Taha Siddiqui (freelance journalist) have a similar pattern and indicates the involvement of some spy agency behind all these incidents.
-The journalist body is concerned that the police have failed to arrest even a single culprit although offers of cooperation in arresting the real culprits were also made by the ISPR.
-PFUJ condemns these attacks as well as the attackers in the strongest terms
and resolves to defend the freedom of speech and expression in all its forms and not to be cowed down by such cowardly attacks and to stand by the victims.
-The PFUJ calls upon all human rights organizations to take notice of these targeted attacks by the state and non-state actors and to raise their voice
-It demands of the government to rein in the unbridled spy agencies and requests the Supreme Court to take suo moto action against all state and non-state actors trying to suppress freedom of expression provided under the Constitution.
Pakistan Observer, November 1, 2016