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ISLAMABAD: A Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) senator said all Pakistani citizens are equal before the law and President Dr Arif Alvi has to view them as such and not through politically-tinted glasses.

The PPP Senator and former chairman Senate Raza Rabbani, in a statement on Friday, said that the president’s concern for the media is subjective.

President Dr Alvi, a day ago (July 7), in a letter addressed to the prime minister, had expressed his deep concern on the rising trend of harassment and torture of journalists and media persons in Pakistan.

The president, while referring to recent incidents of violence against journalists, stated that such events reflect a mindset of intolerance that has negative repercussions both on the future of democracy, as well as, freedom of expression as guaranteed by Article 19 of the Constitution of Pakistan and Article 19 of the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Such actions also come under international focus and tarnish the image of our country, he added.

Rabbani alleged that during the tenure of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, the President violated his oath of office to the extent, “That, in all circumstances, I will do right to all manner of people, according to law, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will:” when he: “failed to, ask the government to conduct prompt, impartial and effective investigations into the increasing incidents against the media; Failed to, draw the attention of the government on the murderous attacks on Asad Ali Toor, Absar Alam and Matiullah Jan, amongst others; failed to question the government on suspension of or removal of anchors and working journalists, including Hamid Mir but not limited to him; failed to show his concern to the government when a horrendous social media campaign was unleashed against women journalists; failed to, show his concern to the government, when regulatory agencies blocked cable operators and TV channels; failed to, return Ordinances to the government, which amended press laws placing fetters on the media, and; failed to take notice of an international report, wherein, more than 86 cases in one year i.e., May 2021 to April 2022, were reported against the media and its practitioners.”

Rabbani stated that the need of the hour is not suppression but a dialogue between the political stakeholders, a “COD II”.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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Robin Mitha Jul 09, 2022 08:02am
Very well said . Mr Rabbani's statement is positive as it proposes a dialogue of stakeholders to address the issues regarding press freedom an boundaries
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