Gilgit: The journalists of Gilgit-Baltistan have decided to form a regional union of journalists, to represent the journalist community in a coherent and effective manner. The decision was taken today during the first symposium of journalists belonging to all districts of Gilgit-Baltstan. A three member committee of journalists was formed to draft a constitution for the GB Union of Journalists.
Governor Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan, Chief Minister Hafiz Hafeezur Rehman, Deputy Speaker Jafarullah Khan and Information Minister Ibrahim Sinai attended different sessions during the symposiums.
The journalists, after two days of deliberation, listed down a number of suggestions and demands, seeking development of journalism in the region and promoting the welfare and protection of the journalists.
Speaking at the occasion Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan said that he will extend all possible support to the journalists. He also promised to release 1 million rupees for the press club announced by the former governor.
Hafiz Hafeezur Rehman, Chief Minister GB, said that the assembly will make relevant legislations to ensure that the rights of journalists are protected. He also said that an endowment fund will be created for financial protection of journalists.
Ibrahim Sanai, Minister for Education and Information, said that the Information Department, like other institutions needs reforms and development. He said that the issues raised by the journalists will be taken seriously and efforts will be made to resolve the issues.
Earlier, Syed Tariq Hussain Shah, President of the Press Club Gilgit, presented the demands and issues of the journalists’ fraternity in front of the Chief Minister. He explained the hardships being faced, including absence of job structures and payments of salaries to the journalists who work for various newspapers. He made a number of recommendations to the CM and Governor to ensure that the interests of the journalists are protected.
The symposium was addressed by senior journalists, including Sartaj Khan (Diamer), Nisar Abbas (Skardu), Shukur Azam Rumi (Gilgit), Ashraf Hussain Azad (Skardu), Qasim Butt (Skardu), Imtiaz Ali Taj (Gilgit), Manzar Shigri (Gilgit), Raja Adil Ghias (Ghizar), Khursheed Ahmad, Ikram Najmi (Hunza), Yaqub Tai (Ghizar), Attaullah (Astore), Basharat Mahand (Gilgit), Ali Ahmad (Hunza), Murtaza Shamiri (Nagar), Iqbal Rajwa (Nagar), Faizullah Faraq (Diamer), Farooq Ahmad (Astore), and Noor Pamiri (Hunza).
Kiran Shaheen, the only female journalist participating in the symposium, also shared her views.
Gilgit-Baltstan’s only cartoonist, Apo Iqbal Balti, in a lighthearted manner highlighted the issues of the journalists.
Earlier, Yasir Rizvi, Secretary Tourism, highlighted the role of journalism in promotion of tourism. He urged the journalists to make more efforts to promote the region’s tourism potential at the national and international level. Dr. Abdul Rehman from AKRSP’s Gems and Jewelary project spoke at length about the gems and minerals industry in the region.
Presidents of all press clubs and other senior journalists also shared their views on various issues.