ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Speaker, Asad Qaisar, on Tuesday claimed that the decision to lock press gallery on the eve of presidential address to joint sitting of the Parliament was taken in consultation with the Parliamentary Reporters Association (PRA).
"Whatever decision regarding closure of the press gallery was taken in consultation with the PRA. I cannot afford a clash between two groups of journalists which could earn a bad name for media and the Parliament," the NA speaker said, adding that he was told by some journalists that there would be some confrontation between two groups during the session.
He said that the PRA was also a representative and it should take care of parliamentary traditions. The PRA, in a statement, immediately denied claims of the NA Speaker regarding closure of the press gallery. "Neither the PRA was taken into confidence on closing the press gallery nor did any delegation of the association meet the NA Speaker. “We condemn statement of the NA Speaker and demand investigation into the matter,” the PRA statement said.
The PRA said there was no truth in statement of the Speaker, adding that it was blackest day in the history of Parliament when journalists were stopped from coverage of the joint session. “Speaker is trying to cover up the issue by saying that he held meeting with a delegation of PRA on Tuesday,” the secretary information of PRA in a statement said. He said that the PRA, after consultation, would announce future action plan prior to the next National Assembly session.
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