Lahore: The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) observed black day across the country to condemned imposition of emergency, promulgation of PCO by former president Pervez Musharraf in 2007. The main function was the seminar held at Peral Continental, here on Sunday.
Former President Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association Ali Ahmad Kurd, former Chief Justice Lahore High Court Justice Allah Nawaz, PTI senior leader Shafqat Mehmood, senior columnist Sajad Mir, Executive Editor Daily Dunya Salman Ghani, IFJ advisor Shaukat Pervaiz, APNEC Chairman Nasir Naqvi, PFUJ President Rana Muhammad Azeem, Secretary General PFUJ Amin Yousuf, President Peshawar Union of Journalists Nisar Hussain and President Gujranwala Union of Journalists Sajjad Dar, PPP leader Khurram Latif Khosa, SAP Director M. Tahsin and Journalist from Switzerland Amjad Chaudhry spoke on the occasion.
A number of local journalists along with office bearers of different union of journalists from different provinces, representative of civil society and lawyers actively participated in the seminar and vowed to continue their fight to protect the independence and liberty of the people, media and democratic powers in the country.
The ex-president Pervaiz Musharraf had imposed an emergency in the capacity of army chief on November 3, 2007 and sacked most of the judges of higher courts and the Supreme Court, including the Chief Justice of Pakistan, and ordered the remaining and newly hired judges to take new oath under Provisional Constitution Order (PCO). As the emergency was declared, army troops entered the Supreme Court building in Islamabad, arrested the judges, including the CJP, and kept them under detention in homes after they refused to take oath under the 2007 PCO. Troops were deployed inside state-run TV and radio stations, while independent channels went off air.
Speakers were unanimously of the view that combined movement of the lawyers, journalists, civil society and politicians ran an unprecedented campaign for restoration of judiciary and constitution ended in Musharraf’s ouster. He first quitted office as Chief Executive and later tendered resignation as President of Pakistan on August 18, 2008 but the fruits of the great struggle could not reach to the common people of Pakistan but a small a number of people were the beneficiaries along with the politicians who managed to reach in the Parliament and enjoying luxuries.
Ali Ahmad Kurd condemned the imposition of emergency in 2007 but were of the view that the situation is not changed even in the democratic government as the common poor of Pakistan were still looking for their basic rights and they had to face lot of problems in the life. He said that their great movement was to ensure the basic rights of common people and empowerment of democratic norms but the movement was finished in a mysterious way that was why the fruits of the democracy could not reach common people. He was very bold to say that he was great admirer of the Chief Justice of Pakistan who boldly faced 5 Army Generals on March 9 and refused to obey their orders that brought a great change in the country but now his intervention in the different issues and abundance of statements was not understandable. “We had not gone so far in the movement if knew that some people were to benefit from this and the poor people will get nothing. I still receive a number of letters from the common people around the country who are waiting for their problems to be solved, Kurd added. He continued to admire the role of media in success of their movement against Musharraf and hoped they would continue the same if needed in future.
Justice (R) Aallah Nawaz said that the emergency ended and General Musharraf had to quit but the situation seemed to be the same in the country again. Poor people are king for their basic rights and necessities while top leadership was busy in taking country’s resources out of the country. “Money laundering and concentration of powers has been menace but no one was ready to look into and resolve these serious issues,” he observed.
Salman Ghani strongly condemned political parties who were enjoying due to the movement against emergency and Musharraf but no one could manage a protest to observe black day on November 3 but it was PFUJ who come forward and held this seminar to review the situation in the country. He detailed that journalists we not gifted independence but they had sacrificed for the same and know how to protect it. He said that Chief Justice Pakistan led the wishes of the common people of Pakistan to oppose the dictator Musharaf that was why everyone was behind him while some political leaders who were supported General Musharaf were nowhere in the country and had to face hatter of the people in the general elections. He advised Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to take steps to stop drone attacks and talk to USA with courage like Iran otherwise he could also face swear consequences.
Shafqat Mehmood congratulated the newly elected President Rana Azeem and Secretary General Amin Yousuf. He admitted that PFUJ had been working for the rights of the people and journalists for many years and hoped to continue their struggle in future. He said that journalists had to work in very difficult situations due to government’s checks while some times their own media groups caused them problems. “It is a common phenomena that we always try to use our power above the legitimacy and it was going on even in the democratic regime. It is our modest duty to combine and work hard for the sake of betterment of our nation,” he maintained.
Sajad Mir said that it was high time that media, Judiciary and civil society be made accountable. He said that we are passing through a very critical regime where our independence is at stake. “Super powers do not want to see peace in Pakistan and they sabotage peace dialogue with a drone attack a couple of days ago. It is essential that we all combine to defend our nation and country,” he added.
Khuram Latif Khosa said that we should take practical steps to fight against unevenness in the society and try to solve the problems of the common people. He stressed that a struggle against the atrocities be continued and journalists, civil society and other faction of life should continue their fight to establish peace in the country.
IFJ adviser and former President Pervaiz Shaukat detailed that they had been fighting for the rights of the people and media persons and observed a number of protests, sit in and arranged rallies to restore democracy in the country. He continued that media person had always been performing their duties even sacrificing their lives. He disclosed that he had signed an agreement with foreign agency to give protection to the journalists of the country if anybody had threats of life and he had provided such protection to a number of journalists from remote areas of the country in past.
President PFUJ Rana Muhammad Azeem said that media person were the front line fighters against basic rights and democracy. He said that journalists could sacrifice their lives but were not sailable commodities. He said that a number of journalists had already sacrificed their lives while they would not step back if needed in future. He demanded that Media owners should take steps to ensure lives of the journalists who work in dangerous situations. “We will continue our fight and ensure to change the scenario so that we could celebrate the prosperity of the nation in near future,” Azeem concluded.
The PFUJ Secretary General Amin Yousuf recalled November 3 emergency and said that as many as 250 journalists in Karachi and hundreds in other cities of the country were taken into custody by the forces but they continued their struggle for restoration of democracy and finally managed to get it. He maintained that as many as 119 journalists sacrificed their lives in the struggle and discharging their duties and were ready to give more sacrifices for the nation and the country. He demanded that political parties should come forward and support the causes of journalists to ensure their basic rights.
Amjad Chaudhry from Switzerland, President Peshawar Union of Journalists Nisar Hussain, President Gujranwala Union of Journalists Sajjad Dar also emphasized that everyone should come forward and continue their fights for the betterment of the country and rstore the basic rights of the common people of Pakistan so that future generation could get its fruits to live their peaceful lives.