Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has termed the statement of former Prime Minister Imran Khan as against the facts and reality in which he had claimed that he did not have any hand in stifling the media.
In a statement issued on Sunday, PFUJ’s President Shahzada Zulfiqar and Secretary General Nasir Zaidi said the tenure of Imran Khan would go down in the history of Pakistani media as one of the darkest chapters.
During the tenure of Imran Khan, they recalled, the journalists were beaten up, assassination attempts were made on some journalists, several anchorpersons lost their jobs for merely criticizing his regime, which resulted into a financial strangulation of media industry as advertisements were stopped and advertisement dues withheld.
The PFUJ leadership observed that during Imran’s tenure, media persons were implicated in fake cases and Editor-in-Chief of the Jang Group, Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman was imprisoned for several months on trumped up charges. “If the memory of the former prime minister is not strong enough to remember the incidents that had happened during his period, we would like to remind him that senior journalist Matiullah Jan was abducted in the broad daylight, another senior journalist Absar Alam was shot at by unknown attackers, armed men entered the residence of Asad Tor beating him up brutally, besides hurling threats at him, while character assassination campaigns against anchorpersons Asma Shirazi, Gharida Farouqi and other female media persons were also a routine during his tenure.”
They observed that it were not only attacks that had been carried out against the journalists but the previous government of Imran Khan also tried to amend the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act, which was challenged in the court and his government had to face embarrassment.
The regime of Imran Khan also tried to establish Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) to stifle all critical voices and create problems for the media industry but because of the heroic struggle of the media community, the regime did not succeed in its mission.
Imran Khan cannot exonerate himself from the draconian steps that were taken against the media and journalists right under his nose, the two leaders said. They observed that this was done with the prior knowledge of Imran Khan and his ministers who defended the curbs on the media claiming that controlling media was important for them.
The PFUJ leaders said Khan could not claim innocence by distorting facts and hiding reality. “He should rather reflect upon the attitude of PTI workers towards media persons and make efforts to reign in his supporters who are still carrying out a lethal propaganda against the journalists.”