LAHORE - Journalists in Punjab have called upon the federal government to evolve a mechanism for security of job and life of the media persons and ensuring timely release of salary.

A seminar was jointly organised by Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, Punjab Union of Journalists and Lahore Press Club on “Role of media in stability in Pakistan” in connection with International Press Freedom Day.

Federal Minister for Information Pervez Rashid was invited as special speaker but he did not turn up.

The media men were quite annoyed with the absence of the minister particularly PFUJ President Rana Azeem and the PUJ President Shehzad Butt termed his disappearance “a move to avoid hearing the truth”.

Rana Azeem regretted that the media functions were seldom attended by Mr Pervaiz Rasheed.

However senior journalist Arif Nizami covered up the things saying: “It is of no use crying over the minister’s absence as he is powerless even to invite media men without discrimination for interacting with the Prime Minister on any issue.”

Citing a recent media meeting with PM Nawaz Sharif in Lahore, Niazmi said that a certain group was always invited to meet the PM.

A large number of journalists attended the seminar that was addressed by Opposition Leader in Punjab Assembly Mian Mahmudur Rashid, LPC president Mian Shahbaz, senior journalists Munoo Bhai, Mujibur Rehman Shami, Sajjad Mir, Salman Ghani, Amir Sohail and LPC Secretary Shadab Riaz.

They shed light on the conditions under which the journalists are performing their duties in Pakistan. They said the whole world recognises Pakistani journalists working in highly threatening conditions, with low salaries and deprived rights.

Many speakers also chided the media owners who do not pay salaries to the workers but were swelling up in wealth taking benefits from the government.

Mujibur Rehman Shami laid stress on the journalists to protect democracy and take side with law to preclude the entry of undemocratic force into the civil side.

Mian Mahmudur Rashid said the present democracy was worst than dictatorship as herein a class of rulers was doing utter exploitation of the poor and minting money from the mega projects merely doing lip service about providing health, education and other basic amenities to the poor.

He said it was pity that NAB, FBR and other institution of probe were totally silent on the government corruption.

Rana Azeem said democracy and the judiciary owed their independence to media where people laid down their life and made untiring efforts for the two institutions.