Authorities in Pakistan’s Mohmand tribal district along the border with Afghanistan served Thursday (February 26, 2015) a notice on president of Ghalanai Press Club seeking explanation why political leaders are using the facility.
The notice, obtained by Freedom Network [FN] on Friday (February 27, 2015), was issued by assistant political agent, Upper Mohmand sub-Division. It threatened action if the press club president did not explain within the stipulated period.
“You are informed that different political parties are using the press club building for personal activities and that political meetings and press conferences are also taking part on the press club premises,” the notice read.
The notice alleged that all that was happening on behalf of the president of the press club. “You are informed to respond to the notice within three days,” it added.
“Press club serves as centre for political and social activities and denying Ghalanai Press Club of its rights to hold these activities amounts to breach of freedom of expression and the notice will not serve the cause of press freedom in tribal areas as well,” FN reacted to the notice.
FN, Pakistan’s first media watchdog organization, called upon the administration to withdraw the notice and facilitate the media to work independently and help people access to information without any official hindrance.
A senior journalist confided to FN that the notice came three days after a press conference addressed by political leaders criticizing the administration of Mohmand tribal district.
The press club is housed in a building inside political administration compound where the political agent and other administration officials sit for official businesses.
“We are holding consultation as to what response should come from our side,” the senior journalist, who is member of the press club, said.
The federal government gave the tribal people right to hold political meetings by extending Political Parties Act in August 2011.