Condemnations: Sympathies, prayers and support pour in

Information minister, opposition leader and journalist community voice solidarity.


Our Correspondents December 02, 2013
Police officials collecting evidence after the attack. PHOTO: MOHAMMAD NOMAN

ISLAMABAD/ KARACHI:


Reactions, sympathies, prayers and good wishes poured in soon after the attacks. Leaders and politicians of all major parties and members of the journalist community unanimously condemned the attack on the Express Media Group offices.


Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pervaiz Rashid slammed the assault, saying, “Such cowardly acts cannot dampen the spirit of independent media and freedom of expression in the country.” A statement issued by the minister said that those involved in this heinous crime would be punished.

Principal Information Officer Imran Gardezi also expressed his strong condemnation.

Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah, who belongs to the Pakistan Peoples Party, also denounced the attack. He demanded that the government make proper security arrangements for the media and that the culprits behind Monday’s attack be brought to justice.

In a statement issued by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Central Media Cell in Islamabad, party chief Imran Khan acknowledged the role of Express Media Group for the restoration and promotion of democracy and democratic values in the country. He stated that Express Media Group has always stood up for transparency, equality and rule of law in the country, and has immensely contributed towards promoting knowledge and correct information.

“We demand an immediate inquiry of the incident and press the provincial and federal governments to provide complete security to journalists and media houses immediately.”

Through a range of objective reporting and professional journalistic input, the Express Media Group has always unveiled evils in the system and society, which is why attacking its bureau is a wicked effort to curtail its free voice, said Imran Khan.

Exclusively speaking to Express News, chief of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Altaf Hussain denounced in the strongest terms the attack on the Express Media Group. He said the organisation was being targeted for reporting the truth.

It is the government’s responsibility to protect its citizens, including journalists and it should voluntarily resign if it fails to do so, he added.

Altaf Hussain, in a rare conversation with the news channel, said that the Express Media Group was targeted because its newspapers and channel conduct impartial reporting, unlike other media groups.

The MQM chief offered his prayers for the security guard who had been injured. He also said that he was willing to send his activists for the protection of his journalist brothers, and offered any kind of assistance, which the group may require.

Senator Haji Muhammad Adeel of the Awami National Party also slammed the incident and urged the government to make security arrangements for the working journalists.

Separately, Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed asked the government to provide security to the media so that they could perform their duty freely.

Sympathetic visitors

Pakistan Peoples Party leader and Sindh minister Owais Muzaffar visited the offices of the Express Media Group immediately after the attack. He said that this is the second attack on the group’s offices and the purpose of the attackers is to intimidate the journalist community.

He said that history shows us that journalists have resisted such intimidations and worked more gallantly after such attacks. He assured that the attackers will not be spared.

PTI MNA Arif Alvi, Citizens-Police Liaison Committee Chief Ahmed Chinoy and DIG (South) Khalique Shaikh also visited the offices to inquire about the wellbeing of the staff.

APNS reaction

The All Pakistan Newspaper Society (APNS) expressed complete solidarity with the Express Media Group. President Sarmad Ali and Secretary General Masood Hamid stated that it was the second attack on the group, which suggests incompetence of the law-enforcement agencies in Karachi. They stated that such acts of violence against the press are brutal attacks on the freedom of press, which cannot be tolerated.

The APNS urges the federal and provincial governments to protect and safeguard the media from such heinous acts and bring the culprits to book without further delay, they said in a statement.

The Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), Pakistan Broadcasters Association (BPA), Safma and other journalist organisations have similarly issued condemnatory statements. CPNE has convened an emergency meeting to decide the strategy. CPNE president Mujibur Rahman Shami and general secretary Jabbar Khattak said that it was a shameful act. Jabbar Khattack also visited the Express Media Group offices.

BPA also strongly condemned the attack. Gujranwala Press Club and Gujranwala Union of Journalists staged protest demonstrations against it.

Karachi Press Club, KUJ, and press clubs and journalist unions across the country said that it was an attack on the freedom of press.

Safma Karachi president Amir Mehmud said it was a cowardly act.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 3rd, 2013.

COMMENTS (7)

Ali | 8 years ago | Reply

Only sympathies, no action.

SAMPATH | 8 years ago | Reply

I am sorry to learn about the attacks. I am a daily reader of Express Tribune as I read the Hindu and Indian Express of India. I am a well wisher of Pakistan. I am sure the positive forces will become stronger and stronger as the people see the meaninglessness in such attacks and all genuinely contribute to the growth of your country.

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