BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
GILGIT: Frustrated over repeatedly being sidelined, nearly 30 journalists in the capital of Gilgit – Baltistan ask Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif if they are security threat to the high ups, especially those of his stature.
The question was raised on Tuesday in the press club where at least 30 journalists - representing print and election media - sat in front of a TV screen after being denied access to airport and then Lalik Jan stadium where Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif addressed a public rally.
“We want to tell the premier that we aren’t terrorists,” remarked a journalist. “We are professionals but that’s not how we are treated. We are denied security passes to block our access.”
The restriction isn’t new for the local media. It comes into play the moment a prime minister’s aircraft hits the runway. But this time around it was different in a way. None of the journalists was issued a security pass though credentials were collected by the information department a day earlier.
As a result they couldn’t attend the public gathering attended by 20,000 others. A couple of journalists attempted to make it to the public rally but they were stopped midway by security officials, asking for security passes.
The outrage overflew by noon and led the media men to take to streets against the gag, ironically imposed on behest of a prime minister elected thrice. The journalists blocked the road in front of press club and chanted slogans against the administration and the premier.
“This isn’t the first time local media has been kept at bay, Gilani and others also did the same,” said president of Gilgit Press Club. “Mr prime minister did you order for restriction of local media movement? If not please take action against those trying to widen the gap between you and the public."
Published in Outpost on April 14, 2015