Overseas Pakistanis criticise govt for targeting Jang Group

CHICAGO: Pakistanis living in the United States have criticised the government for targeting the Jang Group of Newspapers and they have assured the group of their all-out support in this hour of distress. In an e-mail message sent on Monday, they have condemned government's anti-press policies and demanded an immediate end to the 'victimisation' against the press.

Following is the message:

"The recent undemocratic and unconstitutional action of the Pakistani authorities against the free press of Pakistan has sent shock waves throughout the world. Overseas Pakistanis are specially disturbed by illegal crackdown on the Jang Group of Newspapers by the Pakistani authorities in their efforts to cover up massive corruption by the rulers. Overseas Pakistanis have learnt to value the power of press in nation building and progress of a society. They will not allow Pakistani rulers to easily get away with their efforts to muzzle the free press in Pakistan.

"We assure the management of Jang Group that in their struggle for the sanctity of the freedom of speech and the freedom of press, the US NGOs based in Chicago/Washington will join freedom voices to stop the Pakistani authorities from trampling freedom of speech in Pakistan. "We are asking all our patrons to use every human rights forum to expose the naked aggression of the Nawaz Sharif government against the freedom of press and speech in Pakistan.

"We condemn Nawaz government's action of starting sedition proceedings against Pakistan's major newspapers and consider it an attack on the rights of Pakistanis to know the full truth about the wrongdoings and abuse of power by those who rule Pakistan.

"We demand of the government of Pakistan to stop all underhandedness against national press of Pakistan and pay full compensation for damages done so far to all newspapers that have been targeted including Jang, Aman and Parcham newspapers of Karachi.

"We intend to contact our Congressmen including Congressman John Edward Porter, the Co-chairman of Congressional Human Rights Caucus and seek his help to advise the Nawaz Sharif government to immediately discontinue unconstitutional and abusive aggression against the free press in Pakistan."

The News International Pakistan