Raids at Jang, The News widely condemned

By our correspondent

KARACHI: The political and religious parties leaders and representatives of the other social welfare and cultural organisations have strongly condemned the raid on Jang and The News offices and expressed their solidarity with the press.

While terming the raid as an attack on freedom of press, the leaders said the aim was to pressurise and harass the media specially the Jang group newspapers. Criticising the raid the Secretary General of Millat Party, Javed Jabbar, said all political parties and organisations must resist and defeat this 'blatant attempt to curb freedom of expression'.

He said the attempt made by the FIA team on14th December to inspect the office records of the Jang group of newspapers in Rawalpindi without due legal authorisation was only the latest and crudest step in a whole process of coercion and intimidation which the present government has initiated over the past several weeks. Javed Jabbar said the sudden interest being taken by the income tax department and FIA in the newsprint and financial aspects of the Jang group is too closely connected with the out-spoken policy of the Jang group.

The PPP (SB) also condemned the FIA raid on the offices of Jang group and termed the act as an attempt to curb the freedom of press. In a joint statement the PPP (SB) Sindh President Junaid Soomro and Secretary general Ghulam Hussain Chandio, president Karachi division Ghulam Sarwar Bagh, Ayob Hangoro, Ismail Allana, Khawaja Ghulam Hussain, Nazir Khan and Mushtaq Akkas said the aim of the raid was to blackmail the Jang and The News.

The Naib Ameer of JI Prof Ghafoor Ahmed, Karachi Ameer Naimatullah Khan and Sarfaraz on Tuesday visited the Jang office, called on the Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakeel- ur- Rehman and condemned the government act. The JI leaders expressed their solidarity with him.

The Naib Ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami Karachi Iftikhar Ahmed while condemning the government act said it was a worst example in the country's history in which the government used a federal agency to pressurise the newspapers.

Meanwhile, the Central President of Markazi Anjuman Imdadia Akhbar Farooshan Karachi Abdul Rahim Pehalwan and secretary general Iqbal Karim also condemned the raid on Jang and The News and termed it as an attempt on freedom of press. Speaking at an emergency meeting of the newspapers hawkers on Tuesday they expressed their solidarity with the newspapers.

The News International Pakistan