ISLAMABAD: The Senate on Thursday passed a resolution condemning attack on journalists associated with certain media groups during former premier Nawaz Sharif’s rally on Wednesday.
The PPP also submitted a calling-attention notice in the National Assembly Secretariat to discuss the incident.
Journalists of ARY News, BOL News, 92 News and Samaa News were attacked when Nawaz Sharif’s rally was leaving for Lahore from Islamabad through Rawalpindi.
Several journalists were beaten up apparently by PML-N supporters for their ‘pro-opposition’ stance and ‘biased’ coverage of the rally. The PML-N workers also attacked vans and private cars bearing logos of the mentioned TV channels and broke their windshields.
To protest against the incident, the Parliamentary Reporters Association on Thursday staged a walkout of the media gallery in the Senate. The reporters were to stage a similar protest at the National Assembly also but proceedings of the lower house were adjourned due to lack of quorum.
PML-Q’s Mushahid Hussain Sayed, PML-N’s Javed Abbasi , PPP’s Taj Haider and a few other senators came to meet the protesting journalists in the press gallery. “We condemn the manhandling of journalists as we are in favour of media freedom,” Sayed told reporters.
After holding talks with media-persons, the senators tabled a resolution in the upper house suspending the routine business.
“The Senate – upholding democratic norms of allowing dissent and freedom of expression of the journalists, the fourth pillar of the state – strongly condemns the acts of hooliganism and manhandling of media at [the] political rally last night. Such actions are contrary to all civilised norms and tolerance and coexistence which are the essence of the democracy,” the resolution said.
Calling upon the government to take strong action to punish the culprits, the resolution said the Senate expected the media to play a positive and professional role to protect and promote democracy.
PPP lawmakers in the National Assembly – Shahida Rehmani, Imran Zafar, Shazia Marri, Nafisa Shah, Mir Aijaz Jakhrani, Ayaz Soomro and Shazia Soomro – also submitted a calling-attention notice in the NA Secretariat under Rule 88 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in National Assembly 2007.
“We would like to draw the attention of the minister for information towards repeated incidents of brutal attacks on media-persons while they were covering rally of [the] former prime minister on Wednesday.
“Such incidents are highly condemnable and totally unacceptable. It is [a] serious matter which warrants prompt response from the minister on the floor of the house,” it said.