Civil Society Condemns Lathi Charge and Arrest of Journalists
KARACHI, NOV 20: The civil society coalition People’s Resistance condemns in the strongest terms the brutal police lathi charge on unarmed journalists outside the Karachi Press Club and the arrests of Karachi Union of Journalists’ President Shamimur Rehman, Karachi Press Club President Sabihuddin Ghausi, Secretary General of the Association of Pakistan Television Journalists Faisal Aziz Khan, Ahfaz-ur Rehman and Najeeb Ahmad among others.
Journalists as well as members of civil society had gathered in solidarity with the nation-wide protest call given by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) against restrictions on the media, particularly the electronic media. Several journalists, including women, were injured when police launched a second attack on them outside the Press Club.
The People’s Resistance salutes those who subsequently peacefully offered arrest in solidarity with their arrested colleagues and in protest against the police refusal to let the journalists to take out a peaceful procession to Governor House. About a hundred journalists and several civil society members were among those who courted arrest, including senior journalists Idris Bakhtiar, Owais Tohid, Qaisar Mahmood, Afzal Nadeem Dogar, and Kamal Siddiqui. They were carted off in several mobiles to police stations across the city, many flashing victory signs and shouting slogans for the freedom of media and against dictatorship.
People’s Resistance calls upon all professional groups, NGOs, trade unions, student unions and individuals to join the platform of resistance in its peaceful campaigns for the restoration of the Constitution of Pakistan and basic rights, the judiciary and media independence.
FROM THE PEOPLE’S RESISTANCE
What is there to comment? It is extremely shameful. The General, perhaps his cohorts (Shuj of Guj, et al) even more than him, are hell bent on keeping control. There is nothing they will not do, if they can get away with it, to achieve their objective.
For sometime now people have been asking:”why are there no protests in Karachi?”. What they don’t seem to realize is that, while protests in Karachi would show some moral support, for once the ball is entirely in Punjab’s court. Unless there is a full fledged and very strong street protest movement in the major cities of Punjab, this govt cannot be stopped in its pursuit of control at all costs. The reasons for this are obvious enough. The instruments of power and coercion can be mercilessly used, and have been used in the past, anywhere in Pakistan, except in Punjab. That is the only place where Punjab dominated thugs will have second thought about using excessive force.
Protests in Karachi are heartening; but they wil not do the job. Wake up!
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