Journalists, politicians vow support for Jang Group

By our correspondent

HYDERABAD: Journalists representing different newspapers have expressed their solidarity with the Jang Group of Newspapers and its staffers in their hour of trial against the policies of the government.

Speaking at a seminar organised here by The News on Wednesday, they said that at this crucial juncture, the Jang Group's employees wouldn't be left alone. They condemned the government's move to target the press and termed it as vendetta. Daily Dawn's Azizullah Malik condemned the government's policies regarding press and observed that it's not the matter of Jang Group alone but of the whole journalist community. He also highlighted the significance of free press in the modern world.

"It is not only the matter of Jang or The News, but of the employment of thousands of persons affiliated with this large group," he said. G.N Mughal, Sindh Bureau chief of Frontier Post, termed the one-sided campaign on TV against the Jang Group as an attack on the freedom of press, which he said was illegal and unconstitutional.

He also called upon the APNS and the CPNE to come out openly and defend the values of free press. Columnist and editor of weekly Tehreer-o-Tasweer, Zaheer Ahmed condemned the pressure tactics of the government towards the journalist community in general and against the Jang Group in particular.

He termed the Jang Group as the 'emperor' of all the newspapers in Pakistan and said, "now in our country even the emperor wages a war for its survival." President HUJ and bureau chief NNI Abdul Hafeez Abid condemned the coercion policies against the Jang Group. He added that use of power cannot solve any problem.

Ms Noor Naz Agha, vice-chairperson of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), while defending the rights of freedom of expression said that the government wanted to harm democracy by imposing one-man rule in the country.

Madad Ali Sindhi, a noted intellectual and senior journalist, said that at this crucial juncture, the whole media is with Mir Shakilur Rahman -- who is fighting the battle of freedom of expression. Secretary General Hyderabad Press Club Lala Rehman Samoon condemned the government's action against the press, and said that the Press Club was ready to play its role. Editor regional Sindhi newspaper daily Azadi, Naz Sahito said, "the attitude of the rulers is indifferent and they are trying to pressurise the media community."

President of All Pakistan Akhbar-i-Farooshan, Syed Afzal Ahmed Shah, MPA, castigated the polices of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and alleged that he was busy in destroying the national institutions. The MPA said that this was not the problem of Mir Shakilur Rahman or the Jang group but it's the matter of people who belonged to the press. A number of political leaders, representatives of professional and trade organisations were also present in the seminar.

The News International Pakistan