Police laid a four-hour siege to the Karachi Press Club, and arrested nine people, including five journalists, who were protesting against the government attempt to prevent the publication of a supplement by the Awam newspaper.
Those arrested were journalists Mohammad Mohsin, Shariq Ahmed, Nazeer Khan, Fazal-ur-Rahman and Asghar Shah, nationalist leader Hasil Bizenjo and National Workers Party Secretary-General Yousuf Mastikhan for agitating against the government action. Police also arrested labor leaders Farid Awan and Liaquat Sahi before they joined the protest at the KPC.
Earlier, the journalists community held a hurriedly-called protest meeting on the KPC lawn against the government plan to stop the supplement’s publication. The protest was later joined in by civil society members, political leaders and social figures.
Nationalist leader Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo and Muhammad Ali Shah, chairman of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, condemned the government action against the media.
“The unity of people belonging to different walks of life is the need of the hour,” said Mr Bizenjo in his brief speech. “We have to stand together to struggle against the newly-imposed martial law.”
The 30-minute meeting decided to hold a protest demonstration outside the press club building, where the heavy contingent of police and Rangers disrupted the assembly of the journalists and civil society members. Scuffles between the two sides led to a baton-charge by police on the protesters. The police later surrounded the Karachi Press Club took charge of both the entrance and exit gates of the building at 3pm.
Earlier, the police arrested more than 200 activists of different political parties, including the Jamaat-i-Islami and the Pakistan People’s Party, in different parts of the city in a move to prevent anti-government protests.
Even after the arrest of these friends morales of PFF did not get down and on 5/11/7 PFF organized another consultative meeting with civil society representatives at Karachi. In this meeting it is decided with consent that we will continue our resistance and stand against Musharaf’s Rule till the restoration of complete democracy in Pakistan.
Strategically PFF is going as follows:
1. consultative meeting of organization’s District Bodies at District Level to start awareness campaign at community level on current political scenario and its side effects. After this awareness campaign, protest rallies all around Sindh will be organized.
2. consultative meetings with civil societies to organize a campaign and formulate strategy.
3. consulttive meetings with political parties for struggle againt the rule. 4. contact with national and international partners to motivate them and condemn Musharaf’s Martial Law.
We are hopefully looking towards international partners and media to show solidarity with people of Pakistan in these crisis and help in restoration of democracy.
In this situation PFF as an organization and its leadership (Mr. Muhammad Ali Shah - chairperson) is definately under target of agencies that are following him by day and night and we are ready for any worst cirmustances which may lead to closure of PFF Secretariat and arrest of PFF leaders at central and district level. In this situation we may need solidarity and help from our friend in many ways like legal support for release of these friends (in case they are arrested) and if possible help in organizing the campaign.
We are gratefull towards all friends that have shown their solidarity with PFF and offered help.
Thank you very much,
PAKISTAN FISHERFOLK FORUM [PFF]
Sachal Hall, Jamait Market, Ibahim Hyderi,
Bin Qasim Town, Karachi, Pakistan