November 11, 2020
ISLAMABAD—Speakers in protest rallies of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) across the country warned the government with the message of “enough is enough, no more retrenchments, censorship, and media gagging in Pakistan.”
On PFUJ’s call all the unions of journalists arranged protest rallies attended by journalists, media workers, and retrenched employees and pensioners of PTV, Radio Pakistan. Workers and trade unions of OGDCL, SNGPL, and CDA also joined the protest.
In Islamabad, the protest rally marched towards parliament from National Press Club. However, the protesters were stopped by a huge contingent of police at the D Chowk, where the road was blocked with barbed wire and blocks.
Addressing the protest rally in Quetta, President PFUJ Shahzada Zulfiqar criticized the government for creating a mess in the functioning of the media industry, through misuse of PEMRA laws which seems to be by design, only to gag the media. “Tactics adopted by the government are destroying the basic fabric of society instead of resolving issues in the country,” he said.
Secretary General PFUJ Nasir Zaidi said at the protest in Islamabad that the entire media community stood united for ensuring a free press and protection of journalists’ rights. “We will not disappoint the working classes and are ready for making the sacrifices needed for achieving our goals of safeguarding the workers’ rights,” he said.
Noted anchor and senior journalist Hamid Mir said that the protest rally was ample proof of government high handedness against media industry and strict censorship on media as operation of Channel 24 remains suspended for the last 72 days. “PTV and Radio Pakistan are not being spared from retrenchments, forced retirements, and denial of dues to pensioners and employees are on roads for their rights.”
Anchor and representative of HRCP Muneze Jehangir said that today all the working classes are united for their rights and any attempt to thwart this unity will be foiled, she warned.
Former president of PFUJ Afzal Butt while criticizing the government for increasing unemployment and prices of everyday commodities said the media industry and journalist community were being targeted, which was a dangerous trend.
President National Press Club Shakeel Anjum while warning the PTI government said “enough is enough and the struggle for saving media industry will continue and there will be no compromise.”
Malik Ayoub Khan of National Party announced all out support for media workers and said the issues will be raised in the parliament by its elected representatives.
President RIUJ, Amir Sajjad Syed and Secretary Asif Ali Bhatti in their speeches said it was an irony that services of contract staff of Radio Pakistan were terminated and FIRs registered against them for demanding restoration of their services.
Senior Journalist Fouzia Shahid and Mubarak Zeb demanded implementation of 8th Wage Board Award.
Representative of PTV pensioners, Muhammad Ashraf and Shahid Hashmi said the management of the state broadcaster and the government were denying payment of retirement dues but spending millions on illegal hiring. Now expensive PTV assets were being offered for sale at meagre prices.
Ejaz Ahmed of Radio Pakistan Employees Union demanded immediate restoration of 749 contract workers.
Trade union representatives of CDA, OGDCL, SNGPL and other trade union leaders announced their full support to media workers and said only a free media can ensure fair accountability, transparency and governance.
Those who addressed the rally included Omar Riaz, Raja Ashfaq, Raja Mujeeb, Ansar Warraich, Chaudhri Waheed, Dr. Changez Khan and Majid Yaqoob. They said that instead of providing 10 million jobs, the PTI government under Prime Minister Imran Khan had made millions jobless in the country and Pakistan has been sold to IMF.— A PFUJ media release
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