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KARACHI: Journalists and human rights activists gathered at a seminar on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day condemned the recent killing of the President of Khuzdar Press Club Mohammad Siddique.

The seminar organised by Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ) in collaboration with Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) at Karachi Press Club, saw a resolute call for justice and protection of journalists.

During the seminar, a resolution was passed condemning the killings of journalists, with a special emphasis on the murder of the Khuzdar Press Club President.

The attendees demanded swift action to address the economic challenges faced by journalists and emphasised that non-elected individuals should not interfere in matters concerning press freedom.

The seminar highlighted the urgency of protecting press freedom amidst growing threats. Also present were President of Karachi Press Club, Saeed Sarbazi, Secretary Shoaib Ahmed, and HRCP Vice Chairman Khizar Kazi. Saeed Sarbazi stressed the importance of World Press Freedom Day in shedding light on the challenges faced by journalists, while Imtiaz Khan Faran recounted the alarming situation witnessed during a PFUJ delegation’s visit to Khuzdar Press Club, where reports of a death squad were uncovered.

Khizar Kazi of HRCP expressed concerns over the declining state of institutions in Pakistan, with both state and non-state actors exerting control over the media. He condemned the harassment of journalists on social media and highlighted the risks faced by activists and journalists in Khuzdar due to their exposure of human rights violations.

Mahnaz Rahman voiced disappointment over the diminishing press freedom in Pakistan despite efforts, including the passage of a bill for the protection of journalists in Sindh. Prof Dr Tauseef, a member of the Journalist Protection Commission, emphasised the need for a structured support system for journalists, particularly those in rural areas facing hardships.

The seminar concluded with a call for action to protect journalists and uphold press freedom in Pakistan, with attendees including Amin Baloch of People’s Labour Bureau, senior journalist Shujauddin Qureshi, KUJ (Dastoor) President Khalil Nasir, A H Khanzada, Maqsood Yousufi, Zehra Khan of Home-Based Women Workers Federation, and advocate Yasin Azad.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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