Jang Group issue again echoes in NA

By our correspondent

ISLAMABAD: For the third consecutive day on Wednesday, the issue of state pressure and intimidation of Jang Group echoed in the National Assembly with the government once again avoiding to respond to these latest attempts to muzzle the independent media, when in reality it is being discussed all over the country.

While Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is himself silent on the issue and is avoiding the Lower House, controversy exists amongst his cabinet members. While Information Minister Mushahid Hussain has been absent from the National Assembly and the Senate, failing even to appear for 10 minutes to give the government's reaction, Interior Minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain has dissociated himself from the whole affair.

Even though the Senate is in session, Senator Saifur Rehman prefers not to face senators and instead speaks through the media. While the Lower House has so far been hesitant to discuss the Ehtesab Bureau's attempt to 'chain the truth', the Senate witnessed a lively debate on the subject. On Tuesday, the joint opposition had moved a call-attention notice in the National Assembly, inviting the attention of the information minister to alleged threats extended to the Jang Group management by Senator Saifur Rehman, causing grave concern amongst the newspaper industry and journalists of the country.

The movers of the notice were the PPP's Syed Naveed Qamar, the ANP's Wali Muhammad Khan, the PPP's Aftab Shabaan Mirani, the PPP (ZAB Group)'s Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani and the MQM's Kunwar Khalid Yunus. Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Yasin Wattoo said: "Both the information minister and the parliamentary secretary are absent today. We can take it up on Thursday."

The News International Pakistan