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February 3, 2016

Journalists boycott PA coverage to protest use of force at airport

Karachi

 
February 3, 2016

Karachi

Journalists covering Tuesday’s session of the Sindh Assembly boycotted coverage of the proceedings and walked out of the press gallery in protest against the highhandedness and violent means used by law enforcers earlier in the day against media persons during agitation by PIA workers at the Karachi airport.

The protesting journalists also held a sit-in on the stairs of the assembly where they condemned the use of violent means against media persons at the airport. They chanted slogans against the use of what they called “violent, coercive and undemocratic means” against journalists in order to stop them from fulfilling their professional duties.

Lawmakers from the treasury and opposition benches met them from time to time to show solidarity with them.

Speaking to the protesters, Sindh Senior Minister for Education and Parliamentary Affairs Nisar Ahmed Khuhro said that in case police were found involved in using violent means against media persons at the airport, they would be dealt with strictly.

He said that during the protest rally by PIA workers, Rangers, Airport Security Force, police and personnel of other law-enforcement agencies were deployed at the airport.  He said the DIG concerned had been summoned to the Chief Minister House to report what had happened at the airport.

Khuhro said the ruling PPP equally condemned the use of violent means and torturing methods against journalists and protesting PIA workers. 

“We are against the privatisation of PIA. We in the past opposed the privatisation of Pakistan Steel also.”

Muttahida Quami Movement MPA Muhammad Hussain Khan said the use of torture by the government and law-enforcement agencies against protesting PIA workers and journalists was highly condemnable. 

He said the agitating employees had been staging their rally in pursuance of their constitutional rights. Likewise, he said, the journalists covering the rally had been fulfilling their professional obligations.

Imtiaz Ahmed Sheikh, lawmaker of the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional, said workers of the national airline had the democratic rights to conduct their protest movement for the sake of their rights.

He said the unreasonable attitude shown towards journalists and airline workers was highly lamentable, and lawmakers would raise the issue in the Sindh Assembly on Wednesday (today).

Nusrat Sehar Abbasi of the PML-F said those involved in torturing journalists and protesting workers at the airport should be taken to task.

 

Public transport

On the private members day of the provincial assembly, three private resolutions were adopted. 

The foremost among them was a private resolution tabled by MQM MPA Muhammad Hussain Khan in favour of launching a public transport scheme for the people of Karachi. The resolution stated: “This august house resolves that the provincial government take measures to initiate a public transport scheme for people in Karachi.”

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, on behalf of the government, did not oppose the resolution so it was adopted unanimously.

The other private resolution adopted unanimously by the house called upon the government for establishing rehabilitation centres and hospitals for mentally ill patients in Karachi and Sukkur on the lines of one such hospital working in Hyderabad.

The third resolution also unanimously adopted by the house was moved MQM MPA Irum Azeem Farooque. It called for immediately banning the use of SIM cards for cellular phones pertaining to the Afghan telecommunication companies.

Meanwhile, the house was assured by the authorities that illegal occupation of government land in the Manghopir area would be ended and for this purpose a committee would be formed and house informed of progress in this regard.

MQM MPA Muhammad Hussain Khan in his adjournment motion raised the issue of illegal occupation of hundreds of acres of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation in the Manghopir area by the influential land mafia.

Local Government Minister said the land did not belong to the KMC and the adjournment motion was based on a hypothetical issue. Khuhro said that though the land did not belong to KMC, it was the government’s land.