BRUSSELS: Pakistani writers and journalists based in Europe called upon the government of Pakistan to take necessary steps in order to ensure the right of people to freedom of speech and expression and freedom of press in the country.
The conference titled, “European Pakistani Writers and Journalists” was held by Pakistan Press Club Belgium in three sessions at European Press Club in Brussels. Delegates of the conference also called for serious steps for safety and protection of Urdu literature and improvement of Urdu journalism in Europe. Participants of the first session discussed challenges and issues concerning the future of Urdu literature and ethics of journalism in the European region.
The speakers stated that Urdu literature faces a number of challenges in European countries and the standard of Urdu Journalism exists at a distance from its basic principles and code of ethics. A number of Pakistani writers, journalists and intellectuals from different European countries attended the conference.
Some of the delegates said that the young generation of Pakistanis in Europe lack an interest in Urdu literature hence the future of literature could face a serious challenge. Some of them argued that if solid measures are not taken as soon as possible, the future of Urdu literature could be miserable in Europe.
About growing uneven and irregular Urdu journalism in Europe, they said that a number of unskilled and non-professional people joined Pakistani media organizations in Europe and they use media as a tool for their financial interests and cheap publicity.
The delegates emphasized that ethical journalism strives to ensure accurate and free and fair exchange of information. The ethical journalist acts on the principles of journalism which is based on honesty in gathering, reporting and interpreting information. Many of the participants argued that training workshops and courses should be introduced for unskilled people working in media.
Veteran intellectual Rao Mustajab Ahmad and senior journalist Khalid Hameed Farooqi presided over the first session, which was graced by veteran journalist and writer from UK, Syed Ahmad Nizami. The session was moderated by senior office bearer of Pakistan Press Club Belgium Mr Shiraz Raaj. Earlier, the General Secretary of the Press Club M.Nadeem Butt opened the conference by reciting verses of Quran-ul-Hakeem.
President of Pakistan Press Club Belgium, Ch Imran Saqib, described the objectives of the conference. Pakistani Research Scholar and Journalist Syed Sibtain Shah, Chief Editor of Daily Awaz London Raza Syed, Journalist and Writer from Sweden Arif Kasana, Atif Tauqeer of Voice of Germany, Irfan Aftab of Geo TV, Syed Iqbal Haider, Ishrat Moeen, Shazia Naureen and Syed Zaheer Anwar from Germany, Andeel Haider from Belgium, Syed Ijaz Saifi and Mansoor Alim from Holland and Nasira Khan from France participated in the debate.
A proposal for setting up a Europe-wide joint network of Pakistani journalists and writers was also presented during the conference. The participants said that a joint platform of European-Pakistani intellectuals can evaluate the challenges effectively.
The second session, focusing on introductions of poets and writers and their works, was moderated by Suman Shah of France and Mr M. Nadeem Butt of Pakistan Press Club Belgium. The session was presided by Syed Iqbal Haider, Ijaz Saifi and Atif Tauqeer. Politician belonging to Belgium’s Socialist Party Ms Catherine participated as an honorable guest of the session.
Poets and writers from different countries including Syed Iqbal Haider, Ms Tarhira Rubab, Atif Tauqeer, Ishrat Moeen, Sarwar Ghazali, Javed Zaheer, Bushra Malik and Shazia Naureen from Germany, Arif Kasana and Tahir Nadeem from Sweden, Khalid Farooq from Holland, Ahmad Nizami, Nughamana Kanwel and Kausar Khan from UK introduced their literary works. Some of them also recited their poems. Ms Tina Shagufta from Norway, Dr Kamran, Nasir Nizami, Irshad Qamar, Sarfraz Baig from France also attended the program.
The last session of the conference was a musical segment in which Pakistani folk signer Ustad Asad Qazalbash received gratitude of the participants for his beautiful performance.
The conference was a successful event in the context of the issues and challenges related to the future of Urdu literature and standard of Urdu Journalism in Europe. Regarding freedom of expression, some of the experts on the side line of the conference, referred article 9 of the Constitution of Pakistan which gives right to freedom of speech and expression, and as well as freedom of the press, subject to restrictions of law.