PFUJ leaders condemn minister’s remarks

Published November 15, 2021
This file photo shows federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar. — AFP/File
This file photo shows federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has condemned the federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar’s statement in which he accused journalists of colluding with the opposition, and threatened to use force.

In a statement issued on Sunday, PFUJ president Shahzada Zulfiqar and secretary general Nasir Zaidi warned the minister against issuing such statements and made it clear that media workers would not tolerate such a threatening language.

“The government should not employ undemocratic and fascist tactics against the media as holding peaceful protests is a constitutional right of every Pakistani, which cannot be snatched by any incumbent government,” read the statement of the two PFJU leaders.

Mr Umar, while speaking at a public meeting in Islamabad on Friday, had warned the Pakistan Democratic Movement and media outlets of ‘consequences’ if they held long march towards Islamabad. He accused the media of being facilitator of the PDM and warned them: “Don’t think of coming here. And if you do you will be beaten black and blue.”

Addressing the federal minister, the two PFJU leaders said that the PFUJ could not be coerced into giving up its struggle. “We suffered imprisonment, lost jobs, were prosecuted by the dictatorial governments of Ayub, Yahya, Zia and Musharraf, but we never gave up our struggle and want to continue our struggle against the government’s plans to gag media and stifle dissenting voices.”

They said the PFUJ had always worked for the rule of law because fundamental rights of the masses could only be guaranteed by following the Constitution as it guaranteed freedom of expression and freedom of the press.

Published in Dawn, November 15th, 2021

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