Benazir for united struggle to save freedom of press

By Muhammad Akram

LAHORE: Leader of the Opposition Benazir Bhutto has said that Nawaz Sharif's government had pushed the Federation and the country to the brink of disaster and "time had come to stop the regime from inflicting irreparable loss to the State."

Talking to The News on Tuesday, Benazir Bhutto said, "soon all the democratic forces including the Pakistan Awami Ittehad (PAI), Pakistan Oppressed Nations Movement (PONM) and others would unite to get rid of the anti-people and anti-Pakistan Nawaz Sharif government."

The PPP would unite the whole nation on one platform for the ouster of the 'corrupt' regime, she added. She predicted that Nawaz Sharif would soon be with MQM Chief Altaf Hussain in exile in London. He would have to pay for the misdeeds he committed against the masses, who were driven to self-immolation in front of his residence, she said.

About the government's war on the Jang Group, Benazir Bhutto said, "I salute and fully support the principled stand taken by the Jang Group and the journalist community against government's assault on the freedom of press in general and the largest group of newspapers in Pakistan in particular."

She said the press could not be forced to bow down before the fascist regime of Nawaz Sharif and his 'hangman' Saifur Rehman. She said the journalist community and the Jang Group would emerge victorious in their battle for the freedom of press.

She took serious exception to the high-handedness with which the government was trying to subjugate the press and demanded that use of all the 'leverages of control' to pressurise the press such as stoppage of newsprint quota, advertisements and freezing of accounts be abandoned or withdrawn from the government control.

She expressed the hope that the superior courts would stand up and save the press from the atrocities perpetrated by the regime, "which had already demolished all other State institutions." She called upon all the democratic forces to come out in support of the Jang Group -- 'which was fighting for the freedom of press.'

The News International Pakistan