ISLAMABAD (ENNS) Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) , an umbrella organization of all the journalists unions across the country, has set up a six-member committee to probe the kidnaping incident of journalist Matiullah Jan from the high security zone of Islamabad as well as to monitor the progress in police investigation.
The Union has also decided to become a party in the Matiullah Jan contempt of court case to the extent of interpretation of Article 19 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
The six-member committee will be headed by Pakistan’s senior most working Journalist M. Ziauddin with Munizae Jehangir, Nasir Malick, Fauzia Shahid, Asmatullah Niazi and Asif Bashir Chaudhry as its members. The chairman has also been authorized to set up any sub-committee and, if required, include more members from the civil society.
The decision to form the committee follows PFUJ’s concern over the increasing incidents of beating and kidnapping of journalists apparently by the intelligence agencies in an attempt to muzzle free speech in Pakistan.
Matiullah was kidnapped on 21st July at around 11:10 am from the high security zone of G-6-1/3 Islamabad apparently by a group of people wearing police uniforms, driving vehicles with police lights and carrying arms. His kidnapping created an uprorar in the media which apparently forced the kidnappers to release him the same night after his physical and mental torture.
This was not the first case of its nature. Two weeks ago Anwar Jan Khetran, a journalist from Barkhan area of Balochistan was brutually murdered.
Two years ago, “The News” Reporter Ahmad Noorani was almost beaten to death, allegedly by the intelligence agencies a few yards away from the high security zone close to ISI Headquarters in Islamabad.
It is no surprise that in in all such cases of journalists’ beatings and kidnappings no culprit has been arrested in spite of more than 2000 Safe City CCTV Cameras across the federal Capital.
A report submitted by the Islamabad Police on Wednesday to the supreme court of Pakistan in Matiullah Jan kidnapping case confirmed that neither NADRA is cooperating with the police nor Geo Fencing has been provided to the police investigating team. There seem to be some hidden hands that are stopping Nadra which is responsible for providing facial identification record and other department responsible for geo-fencing to the investigating officials.
The PFUJ is also concerned over the serious implications of Matiullah Jan contempt of court case on the fundamental right of Freedom of Expression guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution. It is with this concern in mind that the PFUJ has decided to become a party in the case to the extent of Article 19 of the Constitution.
The PFUJ has also noted with concern the strong remarks of the honorable judges of the Supreme Court in a case relating to social media. While the courts are considered to be the protectors of the fundamental rights of the people, such general observations by the honorable judges have not been well received by the civil society in general and journalists’ community in particular.
The PFUJ reaffirms its commitment to Free Speech and democracy in Pakistan and expresses its grave concern over the increasing pressure of the state institutions on the Media houses and the unannounced censorship imposed on the media.
The PFUJ reiterates that it will stand up against all those elements who want to silence the Free Press and the social media.