The Lahore Press Club (LPC) announced on Thursday that it had temporarily banned Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid from entering its premises and also barred journalists from providing coverage to him after he allegedly used "insulting" language for Geo TV's senior video journalist Nasir, who is suffering from cancer.
Last week, Rashid had paid a visit to the Benazir Bhutto Hospital in Rawalpindi where journalists asked him to assist Nasir, who is undergoing cancer treatment there. The minister had reportedly responded: "Para rehne do, in ka ye hi ilaaj hai." (Let him stay here, this is his only treatment.)
According to a press release issued today, "Sheikh Rashid [used] insulting and rude [remarks] for Nasir who is a cancer patient and is fighting for his life".
The press statement added that LPC President Zulfiqar Ali Mehto, Vice President Nasira Atiq and other members of the governing body had "strongly condemned" Rashid's behaviour and had taken the decision in response to a call issued by the National Press Club (NPC) to "show solidarity" with the ailing journalist.
The statement further said that the minister would not be allowed to enter the LPC for a week, nor would he be provided media coverage.
The announcement comes two days after the NPC announced that the Railways minister was temporarily barred from entering its premises for the same reason. According to a press statement, the decision was taken after NPC President Shakeel Qarar met Nasir, who is receiving treatment for cancer at Benazir Bhutto Hospital in Rawalpindi.
Additional reporting by Shakeel Qarar.