QUETTA: The political parties and civil society of Balochistan, strongly lashed out at the PTI government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan and anti-media forces for usurping the press freedom, free speech and expression and termed it authoritarian tactics.
Speaking at the regional convention arranged by Pakistan Federal Union of Journalist (PFUJ) and Balochistan Union of Journalist (BUJ) in Quetta they called for a joint movement for safeguarding peoples rights including press freedom, free speech and expression guaranteed by the 1973 constitution.
Former Chief Minister of Balochistan and president of National Party, Dr. Abdul Maalik said successive governments and establishment are not solely responsible for usurping freedom of expression but the owners of media houses are equally responsible for it. “ The main political parties of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) should ensure and protect freedom of press and free speech and expression,” he said. Former president of Supreme Court Bar Association and senator Kamran Murtaza called for new but comprehensive charter of democracy “to protect people’s rights and constitutional supremacy” which is a need of the time. The “political parties have to stop the establishment from taking away press freedom,” he said.
Abdul Rahim Ziaratwal of Pashtoon Khuwah Milli Awami Party, Abdul Haq, Amir Jamat Islami of Balochistan, Dr Nashanas of Balochistan National Party (Awami), Maulana Abdul Qadir Luni of JUI (Nazriyati) and Jamal Shah of PMLN, emphasized for a new social contract to strengthen the federation and protect rights as the “current constitution has failed to guarantee rights of the people particularly those of the lower segments of the society,” they said.
Salman Ashraf President BUJ, Abdul Khaliq Rind President Press Club Quetta, Ayub Jan Sarhindi, labour leader Farooq Shah, Rahat Bulaidi of Balochistan Bar Council, Fida Dashti of Quetta Chamber of commerce, and Shams Mandokhail of HRCP called for unity in the ranks of political leadership, civil society and media organizations to stop the PTI government and the establishment from snatching the rights of the people particularly freedom of press and expression, otherwise they will have to face the wrath of the suppressed segments of the society.
President PFUJ Shehzada Zulfiqar said the PFUJ always confronted all the regimes “to safeguard the rights of the downtrodden people.” He appealed to all the political parties and civil society to support PFUJ long march from “Quetta to Islamabad for freedom of press and expression.” Secretary General PFUJ Nasir Zaidi paid rich tributes to the political leadership and civil society of Balochistan and said that “ you always struggled and challenged the establishment and dictatorships for protecting the rights of the people of the province.” He said since the creation of Pakistan, PFUJ has always challenged black laws and today once again we are challenging the Pakistan Media Development Authority law. Zaidi called for broad-based alliance to ensure safeguarding the rights of the people of Pakistan. Afzal Butt, former president PFUJ, called for supporting the long march. “We are fighting for the rights of all segments of the society,” he emphasized.