Association of Pakistani Lawyers a team of Pakistani origin lawyers, Solicitors, Barristers, Judges in UK jointly condemn blocking TV transmissions in Pakistan in the wake of lawyers long March 2009, and regret to note that curbs on Article 19 freedom is ordered in a democratic reign of democratic parties not in military dictatorship.
APL endorses and encourages freedom of expression, tolerance as enshrined in Pakistan’s 1973 Constitution and considers the right of people of free speech as inalienable. We had supported all journalists when they were under threat post 9th March 2007 and in particular after imposition of emergency post 3rd November 2007, and we reiterate our stand and upholds our tradition and values of supporting a free press and electronic media in Pakistan today. We strongly support the rights of free media and the protection of journalists in Pakistan, who are doing a great job in difficult circumstances keeping people informed when electricity is off most of the time. APL strongly condemns this aggression toward media in particular towards GEO, Aaj TV and ARY and DM Digital and we hope that the relevant authorities will take appropriate action against those involved, and APL urges the administration of Pakistan, in particular Islamabad to provide additional security to employees of electronic media outlets who are broadcasting their transmissions to cover the historic long March 2009. We encourage other members of civil society to step forward and lend their support in the time of need to Pakistani media and support and protect journalists and staff in this difficult times. APL further observed that Media anchors must also show restraint and responsibility whilst discussing matters of very sensitive nature and impartiality is maintained.
APL confirms that suspension basic human rights is against the law of the land and international law. We jointly make representation to international community to take notice of imposition of emergency administrative measures (s.144 of PPC) in most part of Pakistan and worst crack down on lawyers and civic society and condemn such intimidation of judiciary, press, lawyer community and free society and reject this imposition inviting the civilian rulers to learn from the demise of General Musharraf and call for broad based national reconciliation ensuring participation of all political parties. If this gulf between political forces, common man and armed forces is not checked, the federation and movement for civil rule may suffer grave damage. We reject imposition of hurdles in citizen’s rights when Govt. of the day fails to deliver.
In the current geo political situation in the country The President must consider an option of reconciliation with the people of Pakistan as current situation desires all heads of constitutional tracheotomy to observe extreme patience and wisdom and be visionary to avoid conflicts which have serious repercussions for the state of Pakistan, and implement ‘charter of democracy’ which is a political will of Shaheed Ms. Benazir Bhuttoo.
APL further condemns the deteriorating law an order situation in Pakistan and arrests of lawyers and suppressing media. The government of the day must show political will to promote some integrity and tolerance to bear the voice of opposition, media, and civil society which is their democratic right as they claim in their ‘manifesto’ and take credit for supporting this freedom.
We all hope that Lawyers, media and Civil society’s contribution is fruitful to bring Pakistan out of this constitutional crisis and we hope that it reaches to those rulers who make decision(s) to listen to it and act accordingly for rule of law, justice and supremacy of Constitution to save the federation and country from imminent dangers.