ISLAMABAD: The Journalist Panel made a comeback after a gap of three years by sweeping all the 11 executive posts in the elections of the National Press Club (NPC) for the year 2022 held on Friday.

For the first time, four panels had fielded their candidates but the serious fight was between the Journalist Panel and the Azad Journalist Panel, an alliance of three factions of PFUJ along with groups led by three former presidents of the NPC.

Apart from a large number of independent contenders, the other two panels were Jago Panel led by Matiullah Jan and the new entrant National Journalist Panel.

Anwar Raza of the Journalist Panel became the president NPC by bagging 1,027 votes.

More than 1,926 members exercised their right and to prevent any untoward incident the chief election commissioner, Asim Qadeer Rana, had requested police presence during polling and counting of votes.

Meanwhile, talking to Dawn, Anwar Raza said the target for the year was to strengthen the NPC as an institution and carry forward the key agenda of press freedom, civil rights and giving voice to the voiceless.

The results announced by the election committee on Saturday morning showed that his closest rival and former president Shakeel Qarar of Azad Journalist panel obtained only 611 votes.

While the other five candidates could not even cross 160 votes, and the candidate of Matiullah Jan’s Jago panel was at fourth place with 106 votes.

The results of the governing body seats are expected to be announced on Sunday morning.

The key contest was for the slots of secretary and the finance secretary.

Khalil Ahmed Raja of the Journalist Panel became secretary with 823 votes closely followed by Dr Sadia Kamal of Azad Journalist Panel who bagged 771 votes, the combined votes of candidates belonging to other two panels was 285.

Similarly, Ms Nayyar Ali of Journalist Panel has been announced as the finance secretary with 740 votes while Usman Khan of Azad Panel got 683 votes.

The candidates of Journalist Panel — Azhar Jatoi, Nazir Charan and Ghazanfar Abbas — got all the three posts of vice presidents.

Myra Imran of Journalist Panel became VP on the reserved seat for women with 939 votes beating her closest rival by 472 votes.

Similarly, all the three slots of joint secretaries (JS) have been won by Journalist Panel’s Aslam Lurka with 882 votes, Waqar Abbasi 805 votes and Tallat Farooq 791 votes.

Shakila Jalil from the Journalist Panel retained her seat of JS (women) by securing 949 votes, obtaining 456 more than her closest rival.

Meanwhile, various political parties, including former president Asif Ali Zardari, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Secretary General Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari felicitated the Journalist Panel. ANP and MQM also congratulated the elected body.

Published in Dawn, January 30th, 2022

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