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Journalists, lawyers, HR activists announce joint struggle against PMDA

By Asim Yasin
September 09, 2021
Journalists, lawyers, HR activists announce joint struggle against PMDA

ISLAMABAD: Announcing a joint struggle for the freedom of judiciary and media in Pakistan, lawyers, journalists and civil society activists have made it clear that the government's efforts to enslave the judiciary and media in the name of the Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) will be fought vigorously.

It was announced that a delegation of the RIUJ and the National Press Club led by Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists President Shahzada Zulfiqar would participate in a Pakistan Bar Council demonstration on September 9 in front of the Supreme Court of Pakistan while the Pakistan Bar Council, the Supreme Court Bar Association and the Islamabad High Court Bar will participate in the RIUJ sit-in in front of the parliament on September 12.

“Efforts are being made to enslave the media and judiciary in Pakistan and we stand by the media against the best tactics to control the media,” said President Supreme Court Bar Association Latif Akbar while addressing a joint press conference with Vice Chairman Pakistan Bar Council Nasreen Azhar, Secretary General Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists Nasir Zaidi and Chairman Freedom Action Committee of Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists at the National Press Club on Wednesday.

Latif Afridi said people are joining each other to protect their rights and ensure freedom of press and rule of law. He said the freedom of media is being practiced all over the world, but in Pakistan, efforts are being made to enslave the media and judiciary by imposing restrictions on them. “The judiciary is the last resort of our hopes. What the lawyers can do if they allow themselves to interfere in the judiciary,” he said, adding that the lawyers stand by the media against the tactics of controlling it.

PBC Vice-chairman Khushdal Khan said there are only two institutions in Pakistan that have a living conscience lawyers and journalists who raise their voice against every injustice. “The independent judiciary and free media are essential for the development of the country and this can only be possible if we ensure merit and transparency,” he said and added: “We are not against any person or organization. We are only for merit. We want every appointment to be on merit. We stand by the media against the proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority bill,”

PFUJ Secretary General Nasir Zaidi said the judiciary, media and parliament are not independent in the country while censorship has been imposed on the media. He said the country could only develop if the press is free and there is rule of law as per the Constitution and the supremacy of the parliament is accepted. “We have decided that we will now work together and will not allow any bill against the media to be passed.”

RIUJ Freedom Action Committee Chairman Afzal Butt said today is a historic day for the formation of a new alliance. “We will stage a sit-in before the parliament during the presidential address to the parliament and will not let pass the PMDA bill,” he announced.

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan’s Nasreen Azhar said the media is being repeatedly harassed while democracy is being prevented from flourishing. “We have to stand by the media and everyone has to fight together.”

Secretary NPC Anwar Raza said: “We want the rule of law and Constitution in the country for which we all have to play our part.” President Islamabad Bar Zahid Mahmood Raja and President Balochistan Bar Rahab Baledi also addressed the gathering.