ISLAMABAD: Chief of his own faction of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Sunday protested over what he called media blackout of his speech at the opposition’s multi-party conference (MPC) by the host, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).
The PPP as the host and chief organiser of the MPC had made special arrangements for telecasting the opening speeches of the opposition leaders through live streaming on social media websites for which links had been provided to the journalists and TV channels before start of the moot.
Special arrangements were made to telecast the speeches, particularly of deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif and former president Asif Ali Zardari, after the government issued warnings to the TV channels on Saturday that “legal action” would be taken against those which aired the speech of Mr Sharif, as he had been declared a proclaimed offender by an accountability court in the Toshakhana vehicles reference.
After live telecast of the speeches of Mr Sharif and Mr Zardari, the organisers also allowed live streaming of the speeches of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif but the broadcast was abruptly stopped when the floor was given to JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
The angry Maulana said besides the government, the PPP and the organisers had also blacked out his speech. He said his party wanted to register a formal protest with the PPP and the organisers of the MPC.
The PPP leaders tried to pacify Maulana Rehman and PPP’s vice-president Sherry Rehman immediately approached him and told him that it was upon his party’s request that they had not aired his speech live as his party had requested to hold the proceedings of the MPC in-camera.
Maulana Fazlur Rehman, however, without even looking at Ms Rehman said they had made no such request.
Later, the PPP and the PML-N leaders compensated the JUI-F chief by allowing him to read out the joint declaration during the press briefing after the MPC.
Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2020