ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Latif Afridi on Wednesday said the ‘power brokers’ were striving to enslave media and judiciary in Pakistan and the Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) is one of the channels to achieve this nefarious design.

He announced that the lawyers would stand ahead of journalists in the struggle against the establishment of the PMDA, and asked mediapersons to join their protest against the recent inductions in the apex court.

The lawyers have decided to boycott the proceedings and hold a protest outside the Supreme Court building on (today) Thursday, and it was decided that the members of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ) and the National Press Club (NPC) would participate in the protest.

He was speaking at a press conference here at the NPC jointly held by the Supreme Court Bar Association, Pakistan Bar Council, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), PFUJ, RIUJ and the NPC.

SCBA announces protest against inductions in apex court outside SC building today

Without naming anybody Mr Afridi said those in real power were trying to enslave media and the judiciary, and criticised the superior judiciary for supporting the military dictators in the past.

The Supreme Court has already compromised itself as the recent inductions there have not been made on merit.

“We would like to remind the judiciary of their own decisions regarding the requirement of seniority,” Mr Afridi said adding that the judges have to focus on their work as there were around 54,000 cases lying pending in the Supreme Court.

Vice President of PBC Khushdil Khan called the proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority as the media controlling authority.

“Independent judiciary and independent media are very important for the development of the country this is possible only when we ensure merit and transparency in the appointments of judges,” Mr Khan said.

“We are not against any person or institution but we are only in favour of merit,” he said.

HRCP representative Nasreen Azhar said Pakistan was becoming a security state and rights of the people granted in the constitution were being contained.

She added that more than 400 civil society organisations working for the poor were closed down while 200 of them have been restored with very strict conditions restricting them to serve the poor segment of the society.

Secretary General, PFUJ Nasir Zaidi said the judiciary was no more an independent institution.

“We can only develop when the press is free and there is a rule of law and constitution and parliament are supreme,” Mr Zaidi said.

He announced that all those who matter will be taken on board for joint efforts to block the PMDA bill.

“This PMDA is a black law and PFUJ will never allow it,” Mr Zaidi said adding, “If judiciary and journalism are not free in the country, and there is no rule of constitution then the worst loser will be the state itself.”

The RIUJ Media Action Committee chairman of Afzal Butt announced that a new alliance had been formed, and said that the journalists would hold a sit-in in front of the Parliament at the time of President’s address to the joint sitting of the Parliament on September 13 against the proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2021

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