ISLAMABAD : The leaderships of all three factions of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) have agreed to unite on one platform.

The PFUJ broke up following the imposition of martial law by Gen Zia in 1977 after one group of right wing journalists parted ways with the mainstream and went on to form a splinter group known as PFUJ-Dastoor.

The PFUJ-Barna faced a setback last year when two groups, one led by Afzal Butt and the other by Pervaiz Shaukat, went their separate ways after disputed elections.

However, after a separation lasting 36 years, two main factions of the PFUJ have decided to form a unified platform for the journalists.

The decision was taken at a meeting of a reunification committee on Saturday. The committee consists of senior journalists I.A. Rahman , Hussain Naqi, M. Ziauddin, Nasir Zaidi, Khawar Naeem Hashmi and Idrees Bakhtiar.

The representatives of the three factions, Afzal Butt, Pervez Shoukat and Idrees Bakhtiar signed a memorandum of understanding to unify the three factions.  

The meeting was attended, among others, by senior journalists. Farooq Faisal Khan, Khursheed Abbasi, Mazhar Abbas, Arshad Ansari, Shafiq Awan and Nisar Abbas. Senior members of the PFUJ, Pervaiz Shaukat, Rana Azeem and Amin Yusuf, were also consulted on phone.

Mazhar Abbas, a former president of the PFUJ, said the decision had been taken after “serious deliberations”. “The unification move is a tribute to those four journalists who received lashes during the martial law regime of Gen Zia,” Abbas said. “Times are changing and now there is no alternative to unity.”

Idrees Bakhtiar said there was no major difference between the constitutions of the three factions, but the biggest challenge would now be the implementation of the constitution in letter and spirit.

However, before any move the matter will be taken to the executive council of each faction for final approval by Aug 25. The reunification committee will meet on Aug 30 to announce a final decision.

Published in Dawn, July 13th, 2014

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