Lahore: Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) affiliated regional unions staged a countrywide protest on Friday, to condemn harassment to the Secretary-General Rana Muhammad Azeem and the registration of cases against other journalists in Pakistan on different charges. The protesters urged the government to avoid such actions which are tantamount to an attack on the freedom of speech & expression otherwise journalists from all over the country would stage a grand protest in front of the Parliament house in Islamabad.
Cases against senior journalists have been registered under different clauses just for criticizing the policies of the Federal Government & filing news articles.
Some unknown persons attacked the home of the PFUJ Secretary General Rana Muhammad Azeem early morning a couple of days ago. They disconnected CC TV cameras installed at the gate and harassed his family. Indigently Rana Azeem was not at home. The unknown persons fled away when neighbours gathered there. Cases have also been registered against Shahid Aslam of BOL TV, Hammad Yousaf from ARY News and Irshad Qureshi from 24 News has also received threats.
The protests and rallies were staged T Press Clubs and Union offices in Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, Abbottabad, Quetta, Qasur, Sheikhupura, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Kamonke, Sargodha, Pindi Bhatian, Multan, Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar, Khanewal, Okara, Sahiwal, Chishtian, Rahimyar Khan, Jahaniyan, Hyderabad, Shikarpur, Nawabshah, Mirpur and other cities.
PFUJ President GM Jamali led the protest in Karachi, Secretary General Rana Muhammad Azeem and President Lahore Press Club led in Lahore, Jamil Mirza led in Islamabad while other members of the executive committee joined the protests in their respective cities. The protestors were carrying banners and play cards with slogans to chant the government and others responsible for illegal activities against the journalists. The speakers in the protest rallies said that journalists and anchors of the talk shows had no personal rivalries with the government or any political party but they were duty-bound to give true information to the people of the country as it is conferred by the constitution of the country. The government cannot silence journalists’ voices by harassing or registering illegal cases. They said that many have already sacrificed their lives while hundreds have been facing harassment and intimidation in the line of their modest duty as journalists and they would continue the same. They warned the authorities to stop such illegal activities against the journalists and take all the illegal cases back and let the media persons perform their duties as per the laws of the land. They announced to stage a mega protest in Islamabad if their voices went unheeded.