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KARACHI: The All Pakistan Newspapers Society has called upon the federal government to take steps for rehabilitation of the newspaper distribution network in Balochistan.

According to a press release, the executive committee of the APNS, at a meeting on Thursday, expressed concern over the breakdown of the network after militant organisations threatened hawkers with dire consequences.

The APNS recalled the Balochistan government had held out an assurance that measures would be taken to ensure an uninterrupted distribution of newspapers, but it had done nothing to put its words into action.

It was regrettable, the APNS said, that the provincial government had remained a silent spectator all along as the militants went about challenging the writ of the state.

The executive committee urged the federal government and the armed forces to look into the matter and restore the state’s writ in Balochistan. Through a resolution, the APNS committee deplored the cancellation of declaration of Sahafat and Dopahr dailies by a magistrate in Islamabad.

The committee accused the Islamabad administration of violating the Press, Newspapers, News Agencies and Books Registration Ordinance, 2002 by cancelling the declarations without notice. “If the declarations are not restored forthwith, the APNS will launch an advertising campaign in all member publications against the arbitrary action.”

The meeting took exception to the arrest of veteran advertising practitioners Gulzar Ali, Salman Mansoor and Masood Hashmi by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), calling for their release and withdrawal of non-bailable warrants against them.

The executive committee decided to grant associate membership to dailies Ummat Peshawar, Imroze Karachi, and Dental News, a Karachi-based monthly. The meeting was attended, among others, by Sarmad Ali, APNS president, Vice president Mehtab Khan, Secretary General Umer Mujib Shami and Joint Secretary S.M. Munir Jilani.

Published in Dawn, October 28th, 2017