KARACHI: The Karachi Press Club (KPC) was willing to resolve the controversy emanating from a dispute with a lawyer and civil society activist that resulted in imposition of a ban on his entry into the club, provided those representing the lawyer approach the KPC officials rather than using pressure tactics.

This was stated by KPC President Fazil Jamili about the outcry in civil society circles on the ban imposed on the lawyer, Jibran Nasir.

Talking to Dawn, Mr Jamili said: “The issue with Jibran Nasir could have been resolved earlier had Mr Nasir approached the KPC or just me, its president, to explain his side. We have our own grievances with him that he should also have had the patience to listen to just like I would have heard him out patiently.”

“The action taken by KPC over Jibran Nasir was done after listening to our members’ complaints regarding him. It was an issue that had to be addressed,” he said, adding: “We are also not happy about what happened. But instead of sitting down to resolve the matter, Mr Nasir has made it more complicated by dragging in the civil society, etc. If we had wanted, we could also have taken this issue to journalists’ unions to form our own pressure group, but things don’t get resolved like this.”

He recalled that the KPC had many times imposed restrictions on people including its own senior members, but those restrictions had also been reconsidered and lifted after the person in question apologised and explained his or her side.

Meanwhile, in a statement, civil society organisations stated that Advocate Nasir was a person of “strong integrity who has always upheld principles of truth and justice”.

“Press clubs are sites for democratic expression and debate for rightful causes. By gate keeping and excluding progressive voices of spokespeople for the disenfranchised, the KPC is turning into a ghetto of censorship and silencing of civil rights. The [KPC] president must revisit the principles of freedom and extend respect to citizens such as Jibran Nasir,” it said.

Also on Wednesday, the Sindh High Court Bar Association called upon the KPC to ask some of its members to confine themselves to “responsible reporting” and “desist from threatening advocates acting in the discharge of their professional duties”.

Published in Dawn, August 4th, 2022

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