Silent creeping coup haunting Pakistan since 1958: Farhatullah Babar

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) senior leader Farhatullah Babar has said that a silent coup has been launched against social rights in Pakistan, arguing that this creeping coup has been haunting the Country since 1958.

Farhatullah Babar made these remarks while addressing a Seminar held on Tuesday at National Press Club (NPC) in Islamabad with the title “Threats to Media and 2018 Elections” under the auspices of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalist (RIUJ).

Besides Farhatullah Babar, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Pervaiz Rasheed, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shibli Faraz, and Awami National Party (ANP) leader Afrasiab Khattak also participated in the seminar among other political entities and media representatives.

The PPP leader said that political parties in Pakistan had never been allowed to go freely in election campaigning since 2002. He said that in 2013 onward, there has been a government but without power.

Farhatullah Babar said that the nation saw how a sitting government was marginalized when the Iranian president visited Pakistan, and the nation saw that the government was helpless to honour a guest in the Country.

In addition, he said that in the Country, newspapers are taken away from stalls, distribution of newspapers are controlled, television channels are getting silent instructions and nobody can say who is doing all these acts. He added that owners are also controlling journalists.

Farhatullah Babar was of the view that PFUJ should work to form a charter instead of holding just seminars.

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In his remarks, PTI’s Shibli Faraz said that his party stands with the journalist community.

The participants of the seminar were of the view that polarization started during Ziaul Haq was still cracking the Pakistani society. They also said that commercialization of journalism have made journalists weaker.

They said that the right to expression needs consolidated approach to fight those who wish to snub right of expression and freedom of press. They said that clamping journalists as ‘ghaddar’ (traitor) or supporters of ‘ghaddar’ is very dangerous trend, Pakistani community of journalists is facing.

The JUI-F Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that political norms in the Country have been changed. He said that politicians’ self-confidence and they feel that they are not running the Country but someone else

Fazlur Rehman said that FATA reforms were approved by the National assembly in 45 minutes against the norms of democracy but we now accepted the decision of majority. He said that presidential ordinance is announced now instead of bill passed by the assembly.

The JUI-F Chief said that FATA merger into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has become complex now, and merger into KPK was done by the presidential orders not through parliament bill.

Moreover, he said that the situation is grave in North Waziristan, and target killing is going on in Wana.

In his remarks, the PFUJ President Afzal Butt said that everybody in journalism feel unseen pressure. He said that owners of newspapers have all the power because there is no editorial staff empowered to publish the content, and this is done only by owners.

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Afzal Butt said that said that there was nobody to raise voice against unseen oppression and pressures. He said that PFUJ and RIUJ decided to come forward and hold this seminar where talk has begun to raise voice against those who are twisting the situation. If army would meddle into politics then PFUJ would stand for the rights of freedom of expression and freedom of journalism, he said.

The PFUJ president said that late Asma Jahangir called me before her death, and said that the Country would face a new kind of oppression that Pakistan had never experienced before.