ISLAMABAD: Senators from the treasury and opposition benches on Wednesday said that they will not accept any kind of ban on any news organisations in the presence of a democratic government.

Commenting on the motion in Senate regarding the ongoing political situation in the country, Awami National Party (ANP) Senator Afrasiab Khattak said that the journalist community sacrificed lives along with members of political parties for the purpose of democracy in the country.

The ANP leader said that the role of a free media is essential for democracy in the country.

“The government should play its role to ensure freedom of expression in this regard,” he added.

“Some elements are creating confusion among media organisations but the Parliament will not accept any kind of ban on any media organisations,” he said.

Khattak said that the democratic system has been taking roots since the elections of 2008, which the opposition parties will support at all costs.

He said that the government should take the parliament into confidence regarding the dialogue process with the Taliban.

“It is difficult to understand that while the government is involved in a dialogue process with the Taliban, it has also conducted strikes on militant’s hideouts in North Waziristan today,” he added.

PML-Q Senator Kamil Ali Agha said that the ban on any news organisation is not a solution of any problem. He said the government should take all the stakeholders on board and introduce a code of conduct for media organisations.

He said that the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) is operating without its chairman and stressed there should be a strong regulatory authority which implements its decisions in this regard.

“The situation would be totally different if there is any code of conduct for the media organisations as yet,” he said.

Agha said that it is the responsibility of the government to play its role to stop the ongoing tussle between different media houses.

BNP-A Senator Kalsoom Perveen said that the role of Pemra is questionable in the present circumstances.

The government should play its role to establish a regulatory authority for the implementation of its decisions, she added.

PML-N Senator Prof. Sajid Mir said that media organisations should play a positive role to counter the ongoing situation within media houses while the government should mediate to remove the tussle in this regard.

Earlier, PPP Senator Mian Raza Rabbani said on a point of order that the association of the Independent Power Projects (IPPs) has threatened the ministry of water and power through a letter that the government should paid their outstanding of Rs300 billion otherwise it should be ready to face loadshedding for 14 hours across the country.

Rabbani said that the government had already paid Rs480bn to the IPPs to clear its circular debt, but the people are still facing loadshedding for up to 10 hours.

The PPP also staged a token walk out from the Senate against the attitude of the IPPs.

Later, Leader of the House Senator Raja Zafar ul Haq said that it was the PPP government which bought electricity on high cost from the IPPs during their last tenure.

During the question hour session, Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique told the House that 58 new locomotives at the unit price of one hundred and ninety-two million rupees are being procured from China and a fifteen per cent down payment has been made in this regard.

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