Locked press gallery with PRA’s consent: NA speaker


A day after National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser ordered locking of the press gallery for media throughout President Dr Arif Alvi’s handle to a joint session of parliament, the NA speaker has mentioned that the choice was taken with the consent of the Parliamentary Reporters Association (PRA), a declare which PRA vehemently denied.

Ironically, the PRA denied the NA speaker’s declare and termed it “fake news”. The association mentioned no assembly occurred between the speaker and the PRA earlier than and after the presidential handle until Tuesday night time.

On September 13, in an interplay with the media on the parliament, the speaker mentioned that he had a “discussion” with PRA, saying “whatever decision I took was taken with the consent of PRA”.

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“I can’t afford that two groups start fighting there [at press gallery]; resulting in disrespecting the House and the media,” Qaiser mentioned with out elaborating something concerning the teams in PRA.

However, he admitted that there was a slight “misunderstanding” when he reached an settlement with PRA that solely the press gallery can be locked and never the lounge behind it the place the journalists sit.

“I had a meeting with PRA today and we both explained things,” the speaker mentioned, including that PRA is a consultant group and a part of the House and it ought to abide by the traditions of the meeting. “No one should be disrespectful,” he mentioned. In response to a query as to who knowledgeable him that there can be commotion on the press gallery, Qaiser mentioned “your people informed me that there would be an uproar”.

In response to the speaker’s assertion, PRA’s Secretary General Asif Bashir Chaudhry strongly rejects the assertion that the PRA delegation has met the Speaker earlier or on Tuesday. “PRA delegation has not met the Speaker National Assembly nor has the PRA been taken into confidence over the closure of the Press Gallery,” the secretary mentioned, including “PRA strongly condemns this black lie of the Speaker”. He demanded an inquiry to find out which delegation met and misrepresented the Speaker.

Declaring the speaker’s assertion an “outright lie”, Chaudhry mentioned there was no fact to it. “After the darkest day in parliamentary history in which the press gallery was locked, the PRA is consulting on its future strategy and the final decision will be taken in consultation with the PRA members before the National Assembly convenes the next session,” he mentioned, including the speaker’s assertion was an try and cowl up the problem.

“The PRA once again strongly condemns this statement as misleading,” Chaudhry added.

On Monday, the press gallery was empty because the journalists have been barred from coming into it when the president addressed the joint sitting of parliament marking the beginning of the fourth parliamentary yr of the National Assembly.

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The press gallery was locked and remained closed for your entire session in reference to the PRA’s announcement that it might stage a stroll out throughout the presidential handle in opposition to the proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) invoice – the invoice apparently proposing large monetary penalties in opposition to faux information.

“It wasn’t just a ban on the press but on the people of Pakistan as journalists are the ear, eyes and voice of the people of Pakistan,” Chaudhry reiterated whereas regretting that Speaker NA proved that “he is a weak speaker.”

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