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“The distribution of Dawn newspaper, for the past month, is witnessing daily disruptions in targeted cities and towns across Pakistan. Hawkers and sales agents are being subjected to continued harassment, threats and physical coercion, while attempting to deliver copies of Dawn to our regular subscribers,” says a statement issued by the management of Dawn on Tuesday.

“Newspaper vans and hawkers, distributing copies of Dawn, have already been denied entry to many cantonment areas for the past several months. Since the middle of May, however, officials posted in several cities and towns in Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan are disallowing the distribution of Dawn to even civilians residing in several areas. Multiple reports are also coming in of officials posted in many cities and towns in Punjab, arbitrarily summoning newspaper agents, hawkers and salesmen, and warning them not to distribute copies of Dawn, threatening them with consequences if disobeyed,” the statement says.

“We at Dawn firmly believe it is the right of every person to buy and read a newspaper of his or her choice, and any attempt to forcibly deny citizens access to Dawn or any other newspaper, is a categorical violation of Article 19 of the Constitution. We call upon the caretaker Prime Minister retired Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk, the Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Bajwa and the Chief Justice of Pakistan Honourable Mian Saqib Nisar to take strong notice without any further delay of this hostile situation. All concerned authorities should direct state institutions to desist from such actions and remove all impediments to the smooth distribution of Dawn and other newspapers.”

Move to forcibly deny readers access to any newspaper is violation of Article 19 of Constitution, says newspaper management

The management has appealed to Dawn’s longstanding readers to demonstrate patience and tolerance with respect to these temporary disruptions, and wherever possible, contact their sales agent or the newspaper’s office directly to report either intermittent delivery or non-delivery of Dawn.

Published in Dawn, June 20th, 2018