Controversy as rival group claims victory in PFUJ polls

KARACHI: Rana Azeem and Amin Yusuf were elected president and secretary general of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists for the years 2013-2015 on Saturday. They secured 119 and 121 votes while their rival candidates Afzal Butt and Khurshid Abbasi bagged 118 and 118 votes, respectively.

Announcing the results after tabulation, PFUJ election committee chairman Sajid Ali Sajid informed journalists that from the electoral college of 252 delegates, 240 had exercised their right to vote.

Mazhar Khan was elected treasurer with 118 against his rival Raja Riaz who bagged 117.

The other elected office-bearers are: Vice presidents – Saleem Shahid (120), Muhammad Amin (120), Azizullah Sharif (116) and Khursheed Tanweer (116).

Assistant secretaries general: Fazil Jamili (121), Ziaul Haq (120), Hamid Yaseen Ahmed (120) and Iqtedar Anwar (119).

A spokesman for the election committee told Dawn that elections were held in a peaceful atmosphere and results were signed by the polling agents of both the groups but after announcement of the results an untoward scene was created when the group led by Mr Butt refused to accept the results claiming that they had been changed at gunpoint. This triggered confusion and tension.

Later, both factions held separate meetings in which they accused each other of displaying weapons.

The newly elected PFUJ Executive Council, which was presided over by Rana Azeem, decided to hold the next BDM at Bahawalpur and the FEC meting in Islamabad. The meeting also recommended to the KUJ to take action against members who had tarnished the image of the fraternity.

Criticising an attempt to manhandle former general secretary of KUJ Hasan Abbas by certain elements brought from outside by the rival group, the meeting resolved not to let the conspiracy against the PFUJ succeed and to get united to foil any such attempt.

The rival group held their meeting with Afzal Butt in the chair. The meeting adopted a resolution condemning what it called the highhandedness of the newly elected FEC members Mushtaq Minhas and Afzal Butt and expressed grave concern over reported threats made on phone to ex-general secretary KUJ Faheem Siddiqui and asked the government to provide him full protection.

According to a spokesman for the group, the meeting expressed its confidence in the leadership of Afzal Butt and Khurshid Abbasi.

Polling agents of Afzal Butt informed the meeting that 239 votes had been cast and his entire panel had swept the polls, but during the vote-count former secretary general of PFUJ Amin Yusuf entered along with some non-journalists the room where votes were being counted and changed the result at gunpoint by inserting some votes into the ballot box.

Afzal Butt claimed that the election committee was constituted unconstitutionally by then president Pervez Shaukat and secretary general Amin Yusuf to rig the elections by ruling out his group’s objections.

He said that like in the past a faction had been created with the support of a political party and appealed to the journalist community to reject the group’s work for political parties.

On Monday, Rana Azeem and Amin Yusuf described the propaganda hurled by certain `irresponsible’ journalists as shameful and misleading and said that the PFUJ had no link whatsoever with the MQM, PPP, PML or any other political organisation and was a professional body which was committed to working for the welfare of journalists.

They said in a statement that the PFUJ had always waged struggle for freedom of the press and rendered sacrifices for restoration of democracy and stability of the democratic institutions in the country. But, they said, certain vested interests were repeating the history of 1978 and conspiring against the PFUJ and that every member of the PFUJ was fully aware of non-journalist representatives of the religious organisation and would foil their schemes.


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