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Police baton charges journalists rallies

06 May, 2005

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Police baton charged peaceful journalists rallies and arrested several newsmen in Islamabad and Lahore two major cites of Pakistan on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day on May 3.

Journalists belonging to different newspapers, news agencies and electronic media took out rallies in all the big cities of Pakistan in favor of their demands, particularly the implementation of 7th wage awards a demand of the Journalists to pay them in accidence to their position in society.

According to the reports, the rallies were peaceful, and the journalists had intended to march towards the Prime Ministerís House in Islamabad and Chief Ministerís house in Lahore. However, heavy contingents of police, most of them in plain clothes, resorted to baton charge on the newsmen and arrested several of them.

Squeezed by the public outcry, the government announced to form a committee comprising members of the national assembly (Pakistanís Top Legislative body) to probe into the matter, however in another surprise move, the ruling coalition reversed the decision without citing any reason the other day and took back the resolution presented in the National assembly.

The Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Sher Afghan Niazi told the house that the decision had been reversed on the directive of Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz.

On the other hand, the Federal Minister for information, Shaikh Rasheed Ahmed says the government believes in freedom of press, and for the first time in the history of Pakistan TV and Radio licenses have being granted to private sector and more are to follow.

Q-1 Does media really enjoy freedom in Pakistan?

Q-2 Was the police action against journalists legitimate?

Q-3 Does any other government in the world treat their journalists in the same way?

Q-4 what image of Pakistani Government was portrayed in the world after the incident?

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