- PFUJ rejects amendments to Punjab Privileges Modification Invoice 2021.
- PFUJ, JAC time period amended invoice an eyewash to chill journalists’ anger.
- PFUJ warns of countrywide protests if controversial clauses are usually not abolished.
LAHORE: Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi Monday notified amendments to the Punjab Privileges Modification Invoice 2021 after protests by the journalist neighborhood.
Learn extra: New regulation provides Punjab Assembly powers to arrest journalists, bureaucrats, lawmakers
Within the Modification Invoice, one schedule was included within the 1972 Act.
Elahi, in an announcement, stated he held journalists in nice esteem and the clauses that had sparked controversy, had been faraway from the invoice after their protest.
Nevertheless, journalists have been nonetheless not pleased with the amended invoice, terming it an eyewash that was aimed to placate journalists’ anger. The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and the Lahore-based Joint Motion Committee (JAC) each stated they rejected the amended Punjab Assembly Privileges Invoice 2021.
“The PFUJ and Action Committee reject the amended bill as notified by the Speaker of the Punjab Assembly on Monday through a press release and demand that Section 21 of the controversial bill be totally abolished,” PFUJ President Shahzada Zulfikar and Secretary-Common Nasir Zaidi stated in a joint press assertion.
The invoice has been adopted by all events unanimously, together with the PTI, the PML-Q, the PML-N and the PPP. As per the regulation, a judicial committee handpicked by the Home can penalise, in a abstract trial, any journalist or bureaucrat for breach of a privilege of the home or any of its committee or a member.
Elahi stated many controversial clauses of the invoice had been omitted underneath Part 21, which empowers the speaker of the meeting to take action.
“We are against Section 21 of the bill itself, as it will serve as a hanging sword over journalists, as it empowers the speakers to add or delete any clause in the bill without even the approval of the Assembly,” the joint assertion stated.
“We demand the speedy abolition of this clause and can proceed our wrestle towards these draconian powers until it’s abolished,” added the statement.
The PFUJ has asked the JAC to gear up efforts for a permanent protest camp outside the Punjab Assembly or on Mall Road. The PFUJ has called upon all journalist associations and bodies to prepare a list of journalists who are willing to protest in Lahore.
“This is the beginning of a long fight that the PFUJ is ready to fight, as it did during the martial law regime of Zia-ul-Haq,” the press statement said.
The PFUJ also commended all the unions of journalists across Pakistan which held protest demonstrations throughout the country on Monday.
The PFUJ lashed out at the government, saying that since the PTI had gotten elected, attacks on “outspoken journalists” had elevated, TV channels have been compelled to fireside anchors and extra gags have been being imposed on print and different types of media.
“We warn the government that it will face a tough resistance from journalists, as they will go to the last extent to protect freedom of expression as guaranteed by the Constitution of Pakistan,” added the PFUJ.
New law gives Punjab Assembly powers to arrest journalists, bureaucrats, lawmakers
Under the Act, the Sergeant-at-Arms will the power to arrest any person on the orders of the Speaker, to prevent them from acting in any manner in breach of privileges within the precincts of the Assembly.
The arrests can be made without a warrant, at any place within the “precincts of the Assembly”, which has been outlined because the meeting’s courtyard, corridor, lobbies, press galleries, rooms, and many others.
The brand new regulation additionally permits for using “reasonable force as may be necessary” when making the arrests.
As per the invoice, the speaker “can in writing direct the arrest and detention in custody” of any member, which means a journalist, bureaucrat, and/or any lawmaker.
Beneath the Act, solely the Speaker can hear an enchantment towards the arrest of a member, which is a usurpation of a Judicial operate. “The Act is liable to be challenged” in court docket, the lawyer defined.
For these convicted, the Act permits an enchantment inside 30 days, however to solely the speaker of the Assembly.