ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has condemned Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar's statement that accused media persons of colluding with the opposition, and threatened to use force.
In a statement issued on Sunday, union president Shahzada Zulfiqar and Secretary General Nasir Zaidi warned the minister against issuing such statements, making it clear the media workers would not tolerate such a threatening language.
The government should not employ undemocratic and fascist tactics against the media as holding peaceful protests was a constitutional right of every Pakistani, which could not be snatched by any government, the two PFJU leaders said, reminding the federal minister that the union could not be coerced into giving up its struggle.
"We suffered imprisonment, lost jobs, prosecuted by the dictatorial governments of general Ayub, Yahya, Zia and Musharraf, but we never gave up our struggle and we want to continue our struggle against the government's plans to gag media and stifle dissenting voices."
They made it clear that the PFUJ had always opposed dictatorial tendencies and worked for the supremacy of parliament and rule of law because, what they asserted, the fundamental rights of masses could only be guaranteed by following the Constitution of the country that also guarantees the freedom of expression and freedom of press.
The PFUJ leaders demanded Prime Minister Imran Khan take notice of Umar's statement that accused journalist fraternity of extending facilitation to Pakistan Democratic Movement and threatened the use of violence against the long march.
They also demanded the prime minister make Asad Umar tender apology over his irresponsible, provocative and undemocratic statements, asserting that it was denting the reputation of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf that claimed to be the champion of press freedom in the past and still asserts that it wants to protect freedom of speech and media.
"If the government wants to use force against the journalists fraternity, we are ready to face it. We cannot be pressured into adopting silence at the time when the government is attacking the media and curbing freedom."
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