ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has condemned the firing incident that took place during a protest organised by journalists outside the office of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) here on Monday.

The PFUJ has called for a countrywide strike to protest against the alleged highhandedness of Pemra authorities, suspension of the licence of TV Channel 24 and nonpayment of salaries to media workers on July 8.

Pemra suspended the operation of Channel 24 citing noncompliance with its terms of licence.

The firing incident took place at the protest called by the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Union of Journalist (RIUJ) and attended by media workers in front of the Pemra headquarters.

“We stood on the greenbelt and the road in front of the Pemra office, raising slogans against the regulator. Some protesters also held placards,” said Chaudhry Sagheer, bureau chief of Channel 24 in Islamabad and finance secretary of the National Press Club. “All of a sudden some officials started taunting us from inside the building. We responded in high-pitched slogans against Pemra,” he said, adding, “the private security guard of Pemra then fired two shots into the air. This created panic and since there were women too at the protest, we decided to withdraw from the scene.”

Later, a complaint against the incident was lodged with the area police station.

Meanwhile, the PFUJ has called for countrywide protests on Wednesday against the incident and suspension of the TV licence. PFUJ president Shahzada Zulfiqar and secretary general Nasir Zaidi urged all UJs to play an active role in arranging protest rallies.

Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2020

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