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PECA Ordinance: Journalists will not allow muzzling media

By Our Correspondent
March 16, 2022

LAHORE: The Punjab Union of Journalists (PUJ) concluded its five-day protest camp against the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) Amendment Ordinance and in favour of freedom of expression, in front of the Lahore Press Club on Tuesday.

A large number of journalists, political and labour leaders, human rights and civil society activists and representatives of the legal fraternity expressed solidarity with the journalists community. PMLN Senator Dr Asad Ashraf, PMLN MPA Mirza Javed, PPP Women's Wing Punjab President and former federal minister Samina Khalid Ghurki, PPP Punjab Finance Secretary Nasira Shaukat Mehmood, Aqila Yousaf Awan, Nankana Shanze, PMLN Labour Wing Punjab President Syed Mushtaq Hussain, Tanveer Nisar Gujjar, former deputy mayor Rana Ijaz Hafeez, advocate Ghulam Mustafa Bajwa and advocate Haroon Bhatta extended their support to journalists against the draconian law.

Senior journalist Raees Ansari, former LPC president Arshad Ansari, PUJ President Ibrahim Lucky, former PUJ presidents Qamar Zaman Bhatti and Ahsan Zia among others addressed the protest camp. Dr Asad Ashraf said the rulers want to push the country into crisis with promulgation of black laws. “The PMLN stands with the journalists community and rejects the Niazi government’s black law to muzzle the voice of independent media,” he added.

Samina Khalid Ghurki said the PPP has always supported journalists. “We will defend the interests of journalists on all fronts. The PECA Ordinance is a conspiracy to silence not only journalists but also the voices of 220 million people,” she added.

Senior journalist Raees Ansari said the days of the government are numbered. “The rulers want to restrict freedom of expression by enacting laws like PECA Ordinance. We will not allow this to happen,” he asserted.

Arshad Ansari said if the government does not withdraw the PECA Ordinance, journalists from all over Pakistan would be on the streets. “If we are forced to protest, journalists from every small and big city across the country would reach Islamabad and besiege the rulers,” he announced.

PUJ President Ibrahim Lucky said that in view of the prevailing political situation in the country according to the decision of the Executive Council of the PUJ, the protest camp is being discontinued temporarily. “It can be resumed any time on the call of Arshad Ansari as the PUJ’s Core Committee has delegated him this authority to issue a call for protest including a long march towards Islamabad.” He thanked all the camp participants for expressing solidarity with the journalists.

All Pakistan Newspapers Employees Confederation (APNEC) General Secretary Mansoor Malik said the PECA Ordinance is conspiracy to suppress the voice of the masses. He vowed to resist the controversial PECA Ordinance at all levels.

On the last day of the protest camp, PUJ Senior Joint Secretary Amer Malik, Treasurer Nadeem Sheikh and Executive Council Member Rana Zulfiqar presented the PUJ’s 14 resolutions including demand for withdrawal of PECA Ordinance, reversal of retrenchments of media workers and pay cuts and payment of pending salaries to media workers.

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