KARACHI/PESHAWAR/ISLAMABAD - Like other parts of the country, journalists’ organisations on Tuesday staged protest demonstrations against the bomb attacks on Nawa-i-Waqt Group offices and other media houses in Karachi.
Leaders of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists including Khurshid Abbasi, Amin Yousaf, President of Karachi Union of Journalists GM Jamali, Secretary of Karachi Union of Journalists (Dastoor) Sajid Ali Sajid, Karachi Press Club’s Secretary Amir Latif, Editor Nawa-e-Waqat Karachi Saeed Khawar and others addressed the protest demonstrations outside the Karachi Press Club.
Giving the government an ultimatum, the journalists’ organisations demanded that those responsible for the attack should be arrested within next 48 hours. They added that if they were not apprehended in the given period of time, journalists would hold country-wide rallies.
It may be noted that assailants riding motorbikes had on Monday threw two homemade bombs at The Nation, Nawa-i-Waqat office in Karachi and other Media Houses in city.
Journalists carrying placards and banner inscribed with slogans condemning the attacks, demanded of the government to provide the security to the media houses and journalists.
The protesting journalists said the attacks on media houses were shameful act of miscreants and failure of Sindh and Federal governments.
They said if the assailants would not be arrested, the journalists would give a call for sit-ins and boycott of government press coverage.
The leaders of journalists’ organisations demanded security for media persons and their offices. They also demanded arrest of the culprits involved in the terrorist attacks within 48 hours.
Also, to condemn attacks on media houses by unknown armed miscreants in Karachi, Khyber Union of Journalists on Tuesday staged a protest demonstration outside the Peshawar press club.
The protest demonstration was led by Khyber Union of Journalists (KhUj) President Nisar Mehmood and Peshawar Press Club President Nasir Hussain. Besides, a large number of media persons belonging to print and electronic media organisations also participated.
The protesters were carrying placards and banners inscribed with slogans against continuous attacks on media organisations across the country. They also raised full-throated slogan against yesterday attack on Recorder House and another private news TV channel in Karachi.
The journalists community has strongly deplored the attacks on offices of private TV channel in Karachi and termed that the incidents were occurred due to inadequate security arrangements by the government and law enforcement agencies for the media persons and their organisations.
Nisar Mehmood said that Pakistan has so far been declared as most dangerous region for journalists. He said that the community members are feeling insecure and threats to their lives after continuous killing of their colleagues and terrorists' attacks on media houses across the country.
He also expressed concern over snail pace of investigation into targeted killing of journalists and attacks on media houses in the past. He criticised that the government and law enforcement agencies had failed to take appropriate steps for protection of lives and properties of the masses. "We demand adequate measures for protection of journalists community and media houses across the country," Mehmood said. He said the government must take serious steps for prevention of such attacks on media houses in future.
The journalist community demanded the government to immediately arrest those people, which were involved in the recent attacks on media houses in Karachi and must bring them to justice. They warned that if the government was failed to prevent such attacks then would hold a long march to federal capital Islamabad and stage a sit-in outside the parliament house for indefinite period.
Separately, Press Council of Pakistan (PCP) Tuesday vehemently condemned attacks on two media houses in Karachi, terming it a blatant and outrageous act against freedom of expression that shows total disbelief in the free functioning of the press.
This was stated in a statement issued here by PCP Chairman Raja Shafqat Abbasi who took strong exception to the attacks on the Karachi offices of Nawa-e-Waqt and Business Recorder warned that nobody should be allowed to pressurise the media to toe their line.
He said repeated attacks on media persons/houses is the biggest challenge for those who advocate for democracy, free press and revere difference in opinion. The chairman has asked the government to take effective measures to protect free functioning of the press. He said on this grave issue PCP will take up the issue of security of media houses in Karachi with IGP Sindh and other concerned officers of the Sindh government. This will be a reminder to its earlier correspondence with the same officials for checking this unruly trend, which is quite rife for quite a while in Karachi.
"Now we need to react fast and nation must unite to take on those who pose a threat to free press," he added. He further said, "These are tough times as forces of disorder and conflict are pitched against decency of order, rule of law and free flow of information and we must tackle it with a befitting response."