Condemning the police torture and arrest of the terminated Radio Pakistan employees, PML-N Spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb on Thursday called for their immediate release and restoration. “Snatching employment from and using batons against those who spent years of their lives in government service is extreme fascism,” she said in a statement.
Addressing the prime minister, Marriyum questioned, “Mr Imran! Economy derailed due to your incompetence. Why are you punishing the poor employees for this?” “Mr Imran!” she added, “You were supposed to provide 10 million jobs. Under which excuse, you are robbing people for their employment?” Marriyum remarked, “Mr Imran snatches jobs from workers and is detaining them in police stations by cracking down on the unarmed employees for staging protest.”
The PML-N spokesperson said Mr Imran should apologise for the maltreatment of the terminated Radio Pakistan staffers after releasing them from police custody and restoring the services. Marriyum issued this statement after a police crackdown against the protesting sacked employees in Islamabad, as they were staging a sit-in against the move. Similar, protests were staged in Lahore and Quetta.
On Oct 20, the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) had terminated the service of 177 news, 531 programme and 41 NCAC/ Web Desk contract staffers, citing a “budget deficit and no need of contractual human resource.” Not only the opposition parties in the country but also the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) expressed their anger over the move. In this connection, the IFJ said,
“This mass sacking from the national broadcaster is a disgrace in this time of pandemic and makes a mockery of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s promise to create 10 million jobs in the country at this time.” “The IFJ strongly condemns the economic harassment of Radio Pakistan contractors and demands their immediate reinstatement and for the broadcaster to begin discussion with journalist unions,” it added.
Earlier, the government had sacked a large number of PTV mid and lower level employees but later hired some people on hefty salaries unprecedented in the organisation’s history.