Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb on Thursday said the country and media had been freed from the clutches of “foreign agent” Imran Khan who imposed worst restrictions on media during his four-year “fascist rule”.
“A person (Imran), who was declared as the “Predator for Press Freedom”, has no right to lecture others on media freedom and freedom of expression,” the minister said while addressing a news conference.
As regards the address of Imran Khan to a seminar on the press freedom, the minister said inviting a person, who had gagged the media during his four-year rule, was a “ridiculous step”.
She was surprised to see that some responsible journalists were listening to Imran Khan’s address attentively, she added.
Marriyum recalled that when Imran Khan was the prime minister journalists were killed and their ribs were broken, state institutions were influenced to put journalists behind jail, and the media faced the worst fascism.
The oppression of Imran Khan against the media was also highlighted by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors, the Pakistan Broadcasters Association and the International Watchdog, she added.
Imran Khan enacted the black law to curtail media freedom, she said, adding it was his tenure when the PTI’s trolls, its rented spokespersons and even the then information minister campaigned against the media.
She said Mattiullah Jan was abducted, Absar Alam was shot, Nusrat Javed attacked, malicious drives launched against Asma Shirazi and Ghareeda Farooqi on the social media, and news programmes of Amber Shamsi, Talat Hussain, Dr Danish, Najam Sethi and Hamid Mir were off aired on his (Imran) directives.
The media persons, she stressed, would have to decide whether such a person (Imran) should be supported or invited to a seminar on press freedom.