'Confiscation of newsprint attempt to crush press freedom'

By our correspondent

LAHORE: The confiscation of Jang Group's newsprint has been termed by the jurists as another attempt to crush the freedom of press. Vice-Chairman Pakistan Bar Council, Rana Ejaz Ahmad was of the view that the government had crossed all limits in its conflict with the dailies The News and the Jang.

He said the rulers should keep in mind that they would not rule forever and added that the PBC in its next meeting would take up the adverse attitude of the government towards the largest group of newspapers in the country. Kazim Khan, President of the LHCBA, said the confiscation of newsprint was a 'minor sin' for those who attacked the Supreme Court and went scot-free.

Asma Jehangir said that the government, through its behaviour with different institutions, had shown that it was not going to abide by any law or rule in order to achieve its agenda. Such an attitude would not only damage the credibility of the apex court but also be harmful for the nation and the democratic system, she added.

She advised the Sharifs' not to think themselves 'invulnerable and invincible.' She was of the view that Sharifs' had openly exposed their 'bent of mind' through their deeds and demonstrated that they did not believe in democracy and freedom of press.

Muhammad Ashraf Wahla, Chairman Executive Committee of the PBC, said that the government's act to stop supply of newsprint to the Jang Group proved that the rulers did not have any respect for the rule of law and independence of press. "After capturing all other state institutions, now the government was all out to control the press which could create another crisis in the country," he added.

Freedom of expression and access to correct information was the basic right of every citizen and if the government succeeded in stopping publication of The News and daily Jang, a large chunk of population would be deprived of a credible source of information, said Hamid Khan.

The News International Pakistan