KARACHI: The city’s is main thoroughfare, Sharae Faisal, is likely to come to a standstill as journalist associations and civil society organisations have vowed to stage a sit-in for an indefinite period against government gag on Bol News.
The announcement was made on Wednesday at a mammoth protest outside Bol News headquarters in Karachi, where hundreds of Bol News and Axact employees had gathered along with representatives of the journalist associations to show their support for what they termed the first-even attempt to introduce an independent media organization in the country.
The charged-up participants of the protest were addressed by Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists’ secretary general, Amin Yousuf, Karachi Union of Journalists’ secretary general WajidRazaIsfahani as well as senior journalists, including NazeerLaghari, Faisal Aziz Khan, Amir Zia, MushtaqSarki, Hasan Abbas, RazzaqSarohi, and anchor persons Farhan Shabbir, Mudassir Iqbal and Mansoor Ali Khan.
“We have come to the decision that the protest sit-in will continue until the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority issues a no-objection certificate for the launch of Bol News transmission,” said Faisal Aziz Khan, provincial bureau chief of the Bol News while announcing three resolutions unanimously passed by the action committee, comprising journalist associations, civil society organizations and Bol News representatives.
While announcing the other resolutions, Khan said that the journalist community and civil society will also hold a protest at the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) office in Karachi that is being used as an unlawful sub-jail for torturing and harassing the Axact and Bol staffers. “We will also lodge FIRs against FIA director Shahid Hayat and his cronies who have been busy in ripping off the Bol and Axact staffers of their the belongings on the ludicrous pretext of investigations,” said Khan. “The FIA officials are plundering the Axact and Bol News properties as spoils of the government and media owners’ war against the new media group.”
He added that the FIA officials had usurped around 30 cars of Axact and Bol employees during the last three hours. Khan also announced to free the Axact headquarters from the hold of FIA’s encroachers.
Addressing the participants, Amin Yousuf said that the Bol Network had promised to change Pakistan’s media industry by giving journalists ownership and a better life-style. “This was the only crime of Bol in the eyes of media owners who regulate their organizations as if these were the camps of bonded labor and abuse,” added Yousuf. “From the courts to the roads, we will fight till last along with the Bol News staffers.”
Senior journalist NazeerLaghari said that the sit-in at Sharae Faisal will be remembered in the country’s journalistic history as a glorious struggle for a free and independent media.