Jang Group assured of people's support for press freedom
By our correspondent


KARACHI: Terming the dispute between Jang Group of Newspapers and government as a matter of whole nation, the deputy chief of Jama'at-e-Islami (JI), Prof Ghafoor Ahmad has assured the group of full support of the people for the freedom of press.

Speaking at a seminar on 'Freedom of press and our responsibilities' held under the aegis of the JI city chapter at Karachi Press Club on Sunday, Prof Ghafoor said the whole nation now had decided to join the struggle of the group for a noble cause. He said: "The govt considers telling the truth as sedition but we consider it a religious obligation and will continue to commit this crime." He said the govt wanted the print media to hide the truth like the TV and radio.

The JI leader held that freedom of press was inevitable for the freedom of the country and pointed out that govt had no right to take retaliatory actions like freezing of bank accounts of the Jang Group. He urged the journalists to boycott the coverage of ministers.

Prof N D Khan of PPP said press was the strongest pillar of the state and the local press could be well compare with the press of any other civilized country of the world. He held that press in Pakistan always raised voice against injustice and did not compromise even with martial regime. Khan said there was no concept of the doctrine of necessity in the press of our country.

Condemning the govt actions against Jang Group he said the whole nation stood with the group in its fight to save the freedom of press. He alleged that Nawaz Sharif could not bear freedom of expression and wanted to destroy the press. He advised the Editor-in-Chief, Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman to take the whole nation into confidence before any agreement with the govt. "It must be honourable as the future of freedom of press depended on it," he pointed out.

The city chief of the JI Naimatullah Khan said one could differ with the policies of daily Jang but there was a consensus on the fact that daily jang was the most prestigious newspaper and an asset of the country. He held that the govt should collect taxes but victimising on this pretext was not justified. He urged the govt to end its retaliatory actions.

The Editor daily Jang, Mehmood Sham said Mir Shakil had decided to take all CBAs and other journalists' unions into confidence before taking any decision in connection with the present crisis. Sham hoped that journalists would finally win the press-govt battle and urged journalists and newspaper workers to remain united.

President Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), Abdul Hameed Chhapra said all journalists would continue to support Mir Shakil as long as he continued to remain on the truthfulness. Secretary General PFUJ (Dastoori), Syed Afzal Mohsin congratulated Mir Shakil on striving for the freedom of press and said all journalists were with the Mir. He urged other newspaper owners to assert on the govt to withdraw unjust tax notices and if the govt denied to do so they should announce a one-day strike to protest against the retaliatory actions, he added.

Senior Editor daily Awam Humayun Aziz, Editor Daily Awam Nazeer Laghari, Editor daily Jasarat Mehmood Ahmad Madani, Editor daily Jurrat Mukhtar Aqil, Editor Roohani Digest Waqar Yusuf Azeemi, President ANP Sindh Ameen Khatak, former Mayor Karachi Abdul Sattar Afghani, chief of Mazdoor Kisan Party Fatahyab Ali Khan and President Jang Employees Union Khursheed Anwar also spoke on the occasion.

The News International Pakistan