November 14, 2021
ISLAMABAD—Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has condemned the statement by Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar, accusing media persons of colluding with the opposition and threatening to use force.
Union President Shahzada Zulfiqar and Secretary-General Nasir Zaidi warned the minister against issuing such statements making it clear the media workers would not tolerate such threatening language.
The government should not employ undemocratic and fascist tactics against the media. Holding peaceful protests is a constitutional right of every Pakistani, which any incumbent government cannot snatch.
They reminded the federal minister that the union could not be coerced into giving up its struggle. "We suffered imprisonment, lost jobs, were prosecuted by the dictatorial governments of General Ayub, Yahaya, Zia, and Musharraf, but we never gave up our struggle, and we will continue our struggle against the government's plans to gag media and stifle dissenting voices."
They made it clear that PFUJ has always opposed dictatorial tendencies and worked for the supremacy of parliament and the rule of law because the fundamental rights of the masses could only be guaranteed by following the country's constitution that secures the freedom of expression and freedom of the press.
The PFUJ leaders demanded that Prime Minister Imran Khan notice Umar's statement that accused the journalist fraternity of extending facilitation to the Pakistan Democratic Movement and threatened to use violence against the long march.
They also demanded that the prime minister make Asad Umar tender an apology for his responsible, provocative, and undemocratic statement. It dented the reputation of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf that claimed to be the champion of press freedom in the past, and still asserts that it wants to protect freedom of speech and media.
The two leaders of PFJU made it clear that the journalist fraternity faced violence in the past, and it could not be deterred from continuing its struggle by these threats. "If the government wants to use force against the journalists' fraternity, we are ready to face it. We cannot be pressured into adopting silence at a time when the government is curbing press freedoms."
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