Association of Pakistani Lawyers a team of Pakistani origin lawyers, Solicitors, Barristers, Judges in UK jointly condemn the killing of a senior journalist Raja Asad Hameed of Nation and Nawa e Waqt who was shot dead in an ambush outside his home town Rawalpindi on 26 March. Our thoughts are with those who lost their loved one and APL demands justice with the Daily Nation’s Senior Reporter Raja Asad Hameed as well as many others who either lost their lives during their call of duty, or their livelihood due to atmosphere of harassment and intimidation requiring them to operate self censorship.
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 uphold our tradition and values of supporting a free press and electronic media in Pakistan today.
APL strongly supports the call for the rights of free media and the protection of journalists in Pakistan, who are doing a great job in difficult circumstances keeping people informed. We observe that Govt of the day bears the responsibility to initiate a positive legislatory work through mutual consultation(s) on policy to refine and translate media growth in Pakistan into a partnership of understanding of each other’s constitutional roles in a friendly atmosphere where fair transfer of information, professional development, policy on protection, and regulation of the institution takes place in an independent and impartial manner, and at least civilian Govt of the day operating on the name of people of Pakistan is expected to discourage policy of buying loyalties of senior journalists, intimidation, harassment and any blanket instructions requiring men of honour to operate self censorship. Discouragemnet on such issues is the key to curb yellow journalism, in order to promote impartial media freedom. APL further observe that Media anchors must also show restraint and responsibility and impartiality is maintained throughout as per their professional duty. Media plays a pivotal role in any nation’s development and with limited resources and meagre financial packages Pak media is playing that role marvellously without denying that room for improvement is always there, and that is so even in the West.
APL urges the administration of Pakistan, in particular capital to provide additional security to employees of electronic & print media & APL encourages other members of civil society to step forward and lend their support in the time of need to Pakistani media and support and protect journalist community in this difficult times. APL confirmed that they will raise the issue of protection of journalist s with Commonwealth press union (CPU), journalist committee in UK (PJA), local press clubs, National Union of Journalist (NUJ) to foster relations between both societies for better understanding of their rights as ‘professionals’ and their responsibilities under the circumstances.
We all demand the Govt of Pakistan a fair treatment and protection of journalists belonging to print or electronic media as this is not the first incident and demand that the culprits behind these threats, harassment, assassinations, and targeted killings are brought to justice in a limited time frame.