Dozens of journalists have been beaten and detained in Islamabad, with police charging the journalists in Lahore. The journalists have staged a sit-in outside Governor House in Karachi, as countrywide rallies were held in Pakistan called by the PFUJ to observe International Press Freedom Day, according to Secretary General of PFUJ, Mazhar Abbas.
The police detained leaders of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and its affiliate Rawalpindi-Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ) near the Parliament House as they held a rally on the International Press Freedom Day. Those arrested included the President of the PFUJ Pervaiz Shoukat, former Secretary General of PFUJ Fouzia Shahid and Cr. Shamsi. They were kept at the police station for over two hours and were only released after journalists staged a march from the National Assembly, which was in session.
Later, a protest meeting was held outside the Parliament House, which was addressed by the opposition legislators who expressed solidarity with the journalists and condemned the government. They said the violence in Islamabad and Lahore had exposed the government's so-called claim of freedom of the press.
In Lahore, several journalists were injured when the police baton charged the rally organized by the Punjab Union of Journalists, (PUJ), an Affiliate of PFUJ. Police blocked the rally as they tried to stage a demonstration outside the Chief Minister’s house.
In Karachi, journalists and human rights groups organised a procession and staged a sit-in outside the Governor’s House to condemn the violence against journalists in Islamabad and Lahore. Similar rallies were also held in other parts of the country at the call of the PFUJ.
Comrade Manzoor Ahmed, president of the Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign and Member of the National Assembly has been actively involved in the struggle of the Pakistani journalists for the implementation of the wage board award and other demands.
He also spoke with other opposition MPs at the protest demo in Islamabad on International Press Freedom Day, May 3rd, and vowed to continue this struggle till victory.
Please send messages of support to the PTUDC address (info [AT] ptudc.org) to be circulated to the different journalists’ organisations participating in this movement.
Report by Hina,