August 04, 2020
ISLAMABAD—Founded in 1950, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) attained the grand age of 70 years on August 2.
Put differently, the oldest union of its kind in South Asia, possibly all of Asia, completed a full seven decades since the launching of its movement for press freedom in the country.
The present leadership of PFUJ will celebrate the occasion in a befitting manner. All the constituent/regional unions and press clubs will organize seminars, conferences, and rallies throughout August to highlight the PFUJ’s heroic struggle for press freedom.
A press release issued by PFUJ President Shehzada Zulfiqar and Secretary-General Nasir Zaidi said that the highlight of the festivities would be a book comprising about 40 chapters. It is written among others by veteran journalists who took part in the PFUJ campaigns for press freedom not just during regimes of military dictators but governments of civilian leaders.
The book, compiled and edited under the guidance of former PFUJ Secretary- General Mazhar Abbas has chapters on the torchbearers of PFUJ’s campaigns like M.A. Shakoor, Asrar Ahmed, Minhaj Barna, and Nisar Osmani. It also highlights the national union’s efforts to improve the working and economic conditions of journalists.
It said that notable among the campaigns launched by the PFUJ were those of 1970, 1978, and 2007, during which journalists called strikes, held rallies and demonstrations, and even courted arrest. As a result, they were incarcerated and even flogged on the orders of military courts.
On other occasions, many of them were sacked by the management of their organizations. In short, they suffered physical hardships as well as economic deprivation.
The press release pointed out that late last year, the PFUJ’s leadership had announced that it would celebrate 2020 as the year of press freedom with full commitment towards the union’s constant struggle for freedom of speech and expression.
The book would be launched, and all future events would be held as part of the above commitment, the press release said.
“PFUJ played a leading role in defending the freedom of expression, economic rights of workers as well as civil liberties throughout the 70 years of its existence,” it said.
The press release concluded that PFUJ would continue to play its role in mitigating the problems faced by journalists. “Today, the journalist community and media workers are facing the worst financial crisis, in addition to censorship and press advice across the country.”
The Express Tribune, November 9, 2016
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