Press release, May 12
Lahore: While condemning the restrictions on the Geo TV and denial of licence to its English channel as the opening of a new front against the media and the restrictions on lawyers in Karachi as reneging on pledges to the people, HRCP has warned the government that such tactics will aggravate the national crisis and add to the people’s frustration. In a statement issued here today, HRCP Chairperson Asma Jahangir and Co-chairperson Iqbal Haider have said:
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan unequivocally condemns the reported directive to the Geo TV to refrain from reporting or discussing certain developments and Pemra’s refusal to grant licence to its English channel. Regardless of the source of these restrictions they constitute an assault on media freedom that cannot be allowed to go unchallenged. That the judiciary should start wielding the hatchet against the media bodes ill for both and we hope reason will prevail before the situation worsens.
As if the opening of a new front against the media were not enough, the government has deemed it appropriate to observe the anniversary of the May 12, 2007 carnage in Karachi with use of force to prevent a peaceful demonstration by lawyers in that city. The incident amounts to reneging on democratic sounding pledges made to the people only a few weeks ago. It seems necessary to warn the authorities responsible for reviving authoritarian tactics that attacks on the people’s most fundamental liberties will boomerang on them. The times demand earnest endeavours to alleviate the plight of the people. The country cannot afford any continuation of the dictatorial policies that have brought the nation to the present pass.
Iqbal Haider Co-Chairperson
Asma Jahangir Co-Chairperson