ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), an umbrella organisation for all the affiliated journalists’ unions across Pakistan, has called upon the journalists to hold protest demonstrations and meetings on Wednesday to protest against the raid on the Karachi Press Club and the arrest of senior journalist Nasrullah Chaudhry on trumped up charges.
“We consider raid on Karachi Press Club as a direct attack on the freedom of Press and arrest of senior journalist Nasrullah Chaudhry in a fake case as an attempt to create an atmosphere of harassment among the journalists’ community,” said a joint statement issued by the PFUJ President Afzal Butt and the Secretary General Ayub Jan Sarhandi.
“This is not the journalists were expecting in a ‘new Pakistan’ but it appears but the silence of the government over the incident and on the arrest of a journalist in a fake case speaks volumes about its intents.”
The statement said that the journalists’ community “totally rejects the claim of CTD (Counter Terrorism Department) that the raid on Press Club was because of some misunderstanding. “We believe it was a part of the larger plan to silence the voice of a free and independent institution and the media at large.”
Similarly, the statement said that the arrest of a senior journalist on trumped up charges is an indication that the government has let loose the agencies to harass the journalists’ community to bring them in line.
“Since the establishment of a new government, the Press has been put under pressure of every kind,” it said. “First the media establishments were financially squeezed and now physical raid are being conducted on institutions that stand for the independence of Press and freedom of expression.”
The PFUJ President Afzal Butt and the Secretary General Ayub Jan Sarhandi also dismissed the fake case registered against Nasrullah Chaudhry.
“The CTD claim that Nasrullah Chaudhry was arrested from Soldier Bazar in itself is a blatant lie as according to his family Nasrullah was arrested from his residence by plain clothes men,” the statement said. “The CTD claim that anti-government and anti-army literature has been recovered from his possession is also a proof that the government had nothing to make a case and an old excuse was used to justify his arrest.”
“Let we make it once again clear that the journalists community has been and will forcefully resist any attempt either by the government or any other state institution to impose curbs on the freedom of expression.”
The PFUJ leadership called upon all the affiliated unions to hold protest rallies and demonstrations across the Country to protest against this high-handedness on November 14, 2018 (Wednesday) and hoist black flags atop press clubs throughout Pakistan.
It also called upon all the journalists to stage walk-outs from the national and provincial assemblies during their sessions.
The PFUJ leadership also called upon all the political parties present in the national assemblies and the provincial assemblies to raise this issue on the floor of their houses.
“We also call upon the civil society organisations to condemn this incident and join the journalists in this countrywide protest,” the PFUJ leadership added.