KARACHI, May 23: The Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors has severely criticised “unprovoked and reprehensible” remarks made by the adviser to the Sindh chief minister on information and archives, Salahuddin Haider, against the chief executive of Dawn.
A press statement issued on Tuesday says the CPNE has decided not to invite the adviser to any CPNE event either in his official or personal capacity until the matter was satisfactorily resolved “either by the issue of a public apology by the official concerned or by his removal from the official post”.
It says no CPNE delegation will meet the adviser and will, instead, directly meet the chief executive of the province.
“The CPNE wishes to formally lodge a complaint against the reprehensible behaviour, words and actions of the adviser to the Sindh chief minister on information and archives, Salahuddin Haider, who is a Muttahida Quami Movement appointee in the coalition government of Sindh.” His behaviour, the statement says, exceeds all acceptable norms of decency and what is expected from an official of a government that purports to believe in the freedom of press as contained in Article 19 of the Constition.
The statement says Mr Haider has attempted to force the Dawn Group to change its reasonable and varied reporting of activities of the Sindh government and his party, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, by resorting to restrict and ban government advertisement.
It also notes that at various points he has threatened journalists, employees and functionaries at the Dawn Group of Newspapers.
“Firstly, the information adviser must be asked to publicly apologize for his remarks with respect to the chief executive of Dawn which were unprovoked and reprehensible in the extreme. The fact that he has failed to do so up to this point and has continued to make noisy threats behind the scenes is further proof of the fact that he needs to be reined in.”
The CPNE has also asked “the Sindh chief minister, the federal minister and the prime minister” to reprimand the adviser about his “unacceptable behaviour”. It has also urged the MQM leadership to reprimand the adviser.