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Tuesday, June 4, 2024

PDM rules out snap polls demand

PDM ruled out the demand for early elections in the country and vowed not to accept any pressure in order to uphold democracy.

On Tuesday, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) rejected the Pakistan Tehreek-e-(PTI) Insaf’s call for early elections and promised to resist any pressure.

At the PM House in the federal capital, Fazlur Rehman, the leader of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUIF), had a meeting with Shehbaz Sharif, the prime minister and president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

The leaders of the coalition alliance reportedly met to review the current state of affairs following the PTI’s decision to dissolve the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies, according to local media sources.

Shehbaz stated during the meeting that the government is working to improve the nation’s economic situation and that soon the Center will offer relief to the general public.

The PDM leader accused Imran Khan of wanting to bring about instability in the nation by dissolving assemblies in a dig at the PTI chairman.

In the meantime, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif reaffirmed the government’s strong commitment to support all initiatives that promote and uphold the principles of freedom of expression and free media while pointing out that the right to free speech is sacred and continues to be at the core of the development of democracy.

Speaking at a gathering co-hosted by the Freedom Network and the Pakistan Journalists Safety Coalition, the prime minister said that freedom of expression and democracy are mutually supportive.

The event examined the plan’s effects on Pakistan and Asia in order to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the United Nations Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.

The prime minister declared that his administration would take part in initiatives to strengthen Pakistan’s democracy through expanded access to free media.

He noted that in the Sindh province, Pakistan passed federal and provincial legislation on journalist safety, making it the first nation in Asia to do so.

Read more: We inherited a divided country; No need for early elections: Bilawal

He declared that the government would continue to assist the ongoing legislative initiatives for journalist safety in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan. He declared that we would actively assist in the passage of the Journalists Safety Law.

However, in response to requests from the press community, the prime minister pledged to review Section 6 of the Act to protect journalists from harassment and intimidation.

After extensive consultation with all the interested parties, he claimed, parliament passed the landmark Protection of Journalists and Media Professional Acts, which guarantees the protection of media professionals and recognises the rights of journalists.

According to the premier, no journalist should be criticised or attacked for exercising their right to free speech, which is protected by Pakistan’s Constitution.

Shehbaz mentioned that he had written the Chief Justice of Pakistan a letter requesting the formation of a panel to probe the killing of journalist Arshad Sharif in Kenya and expressed optimism that action would be taken in this regard.

He also emphasised how the nation’s journalist community had throughout the years contributed to press freedom and how Hamid Mir, the chairwoman of the Journalist Safety Forum, had endured significant difficulties in this regard, including a life-threatening attempt.

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Shehbaz claimed that despite the country’s troubled past and 33 years of military rule, collective political efforts had resulted in the restoration of democracy and put the nation back on track.

He referred to the 1973 Constitution as a very precious instrument that served as a unifying factor for the Federation’s constituent parts, upheld democratic principles, and guaranteed citizens’ fundamental rights.

Speaking at the event, French Ambassador Nicolas Galey praised the legislation Pakistan’s parliament had approved to protect journalists, calling it a significant advancement. He declared that his embassy would keep fostering media interactions between Pakistan and France.

According to Per Albert Ilsaas, Norway’s ambassador to Pakistan, the world community must make sure that journalists are protected both online and offline.

He claimed that Pakistan’s Protection of Journalist and Media Professional Act is a significant step in securing the security of journalists and media professionals and shielding them from harassment and violence.

Danish Ambassador to Pakistan Jakob Linulf discussed the media partnerships between his nation and Pakistan and claimed that Denmark supports Pakistani community journalism. He said that the developing media startup ecosystem in the nation receives assistance from his government. He claimed that in order to improve Pakistani journalists’ ability to cover climate change, they recently organised a trip for them to Denmark.

Hamid Mir, the chair of the PJSC, advocated that the laws passed by the National Assembly require the federal and Sindh governments to notify the safety commissions. He also emphasised the need for comparable laws to be passed for the journalists in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, and Punjab.

He said that the Federal Journalists Safety Law’s Section 6, which serves as a requirement for journalists before they can profit from the law, must be immediately repealed and pointed out that it was inexplicably inserted to the final draught bill without the knowledge of journalists.

In addition to emphasising support from the federal and provincial governments against attacks, intimidation, and harassment of female journalists, he called for the exclusion of journalists from the scope of online expression through laws like PECA (Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act) or other regulations.