HYDERABAD: Accusing local authorities of trying to silence the voice of the people, journalists condemned the demolition of the Tando Allahyar district press club. On Friday, the Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ) visited the camp set up by local journalists adjacent to the press club, which was razed on Wednesday, in order to express solidarity.
"This demolition is an attempt to silence the voice of the district's people," maintained KUJ president Hassan Abbass. Quoting the press club office-bearers, he said that the club had been a present to the journalists of Tando Allahyar from former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
"It is regrettable that the press club has been bulldozed during the Pakistan Peoples Party government in Sindh," he stated. Referring to a similar controversy concerning the Sukkur press club, he said that although the administration had tried to demolish it as well, it was eventually allowed to exist on the alleged government land.
Abbass claimed that the case of the press club in Tando Allahyar was identical, except that the municipal authorities had demolished it on the Sindh High Court's orders. He urged the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take suo motu notice of the matter.
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Shahid Ghazali, a KUJ member, asked why other buildings in the area had not been razed on the SHC's orders as well.
According to the club's president, Naseer Nohrio, the district and municipal authorities did not even give them time to file a review petition in the apex court.
"We even offered that they could establish a library and operate it in the club themselves instead of bringing down the building," he added. "We also asked the government to give us an alternative, permanent land before razing the building, but they did not listen."
Deputy commissioner Rasheed Ahmed Zardari reportedly offered a temporary venue for the club, but the journalists rejected the offer because they wanted a permanent location to erect a new building for the purpose.
Political leaders from the PPP, Grand Democratic Alliance, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan and other parties also visited the camp to express solidarity with the journalists.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 14th, 2020.