Bilawal reiterates PPP’s resolve to fight for media independence

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Monday participated in the sit-in staged by the journalist’s community outside parliament building to express the PPP’s solidarity with them.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on the occasion speaking to journalists said that this is not the first time the journalists are protesting against a black law. Journalists fought against similar laws by dictators General Ayub Khan, General Zia-ul-Haq and General Musharraf.

Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto after taking charge as the prime minister had abolished all restrictions against journalists. We had removed all restrictions imposed by General Musharraf and cleansed of the constitution from all such restrictions and black laws through 18th amendment. He said that the PPP is against PECA and it is against PMDA. This PMDA is an attack on journalists, democracy, judiciary and the right of employment of journalists. We will oppose this PMDA in parliament and every forum. PPP Jiyalas will join you wherever you give a call all over Pakistan.

Responding to questions by senior journalists like Hamid Mir, Aasma Shairzi and others the Chairman PPP said that the draft of PMDA is the same draft which the government wanted to impose as an ordinance. If the government bulldozes it in the parliament we will challenge it in courts. We have doubts that this government will pass this law in a joint session of the parliament but we will challenge it at every available forum.

Chairman PPP said that in today’s session the PPP will raise two issues in the parliament. One is your struggle against this black law PMDA and other issue is of sacking 20 thousand employees unjustifiably by the court.

If the parliament can reinstate the Chief Justice of Supreme Court then why can it not reinstate sacked employees? These employees were first sacked in 1997 when they were about 30 years old and now they are sacked again when most of them have crossed 50 years of age.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that the responses which we have received from the high officials and police department about the attacks on journalists are not satisfactory and the effected journalists are also not satisfied with these responses. He said that all the political parties have similar stand on the independence of media.

Replying a question about his relations with the opposition politicians bChairman PPP said that he has very good relations with all of them and Maulana fazalur Rehman is doing politics for decades with the PPP and he has a lot of respect for him. He said that we can have difference of opinion politically.

He said that every dictator wanted to weaken the journalists but the journalists stood by the truth in the era of General Zia and Musharraf. The journalists have the capacity to wash out this black law called PMDA. He said that as long as the question of legitimacy of this government is concerned, all the opposition parties consider it as an illegitimate government. We wanted and still want to bring no-confidence against this government because we have proved that the government could be dislodged in this way by the success of Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani as Senator from the national assembly.

He said that we have to reclaim the pace of citizens from those who do not want to have them their space. He said that the way the prime minister and his ministers drag a certain institution in politics makes that institution controversial.

About fifth generation war, Chairman PPP said that these ministers and the salaried social media persons cannot defend Pakistan in this fifth generation war where every country in the world is fighting on social media against its enemy. These salaried social media activist who issue twitter messages against their own citizens cannot fight this war.

The capable and renowned journalists can fight this war way better as they are known and respected internationally and they are accepted as impartial journalists. Their defence will be accepted world over.

He said that it is pointless to link defence day speech of the army chief to this black law PMDA as the minister of information is doing. He said that the PPP believes in constructive criticism.

When Shaheed Benazir Bhutto was removing the restrictions impose on journalists by General Zia, the people said to her that they are the people who criticise her all the time so why the removal of restriction?

She answered that they want to vent their anger of 10 years so if they
want to vent n me then let them.

Chairman PPP said that this is the most inactive parliament in history
wjhere the opposition members are not allowed to speak. The parliament
is a platform to solve people’s issues but the minister abuse the
opposition instead of discussing people’s issue. NNI