Women journalists living and working in IHK face the worst working conditions and constants threats on a daily basis. These journalists are vulnerable in many ways, and they are unable to do their work freely. All Pakistani journalists can relate to the situation faced by their colleagues in Afghanistan and Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) as they have a long history of working under dangerous circumstances. Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) members, including its women section, stand in solidarity with the women journalists in Afghanistan and IHK.
PFUJ President GM Jamali said commenting on the dangerous situation for women journalists in Afghanistan and IHK, “PFUJ stands in solidarity with the media in Afghanistan and IHK especially the women journalists who are facing extremely dangerous conditions. PFUJ has always strived to strengthened the media and journalists, and has a long history of pushing back against aggressive forces. Our union has always worked towards strengthen women journalists in Pakistan and not only increased the number of women members in our unions but we have elected our first-ever women vice presidents – Sheher Bano for PFUJ and Lubna Jerar for KUJ – to give women more representation in the unions. We understand the importance of empowering the women journalists, who are a large part of our unions. PFUJ will not hesitate to extend support to the women journalists in the region especially in Afghanistan and IHK.”
Jamali added, “The brave women journalists of Pakistan, Afghanistan and IHK have always stood up against all forces and never shied away from doing their job despite all odds. PFUJ is proud of these brave colleagues who have always proved themselves in even the most difficult situations".
The PFUJ Secretary General Rana Azeem's said that "PFUJ stands behind our colleagues in Afghanistan and Indian Held Kashmir. We are aware of how vulnerable women journalists are in both countries under the circumstances. We demand that the international community unites to help them in any way possible."
The PFUJ Vice President and all its members extend their support to female journalists working in Afghanistan and IHK.
Speaking about the strong and vocal women of Afghanistan, especially the journalists, PFUJ vice president Sheher Bano extended her solidarity towards her sisters in profession in the war torn country. Terming them the lone voice for the rights of women of Afghanistan, she vowed to extend all out support to her sisters in profession in these testing times.
“After the establishment of the Taliban government, female journalists are concerned about their security and careers,” added Sheher Bano. She said she has been watching media reports closely where many Afghan female journalists have expressed their concerns but she is hopeful that soon the Afghan government will announce a clear policy about the protection of women in general and female journalists in particular, as announced in various statements given by top Taliban government officials.
Sheher Bano said, “Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists is standing by Afghan journalists, especially female journalists, and will extend all out support if any of them faced any difficult situation.”
Reiterating her support to Afghan female journalists, she announced her plan to convene a nationwide meeting of PFUJ women leaders to address future plans to extend support to Afghan women journalists. She urged the Afghan government to preserve the voice of free media, guarantee freedom of speech and safety of women journalists and ensure their career progression in a gender balanced society to ensure peace in the country.
Commenting on the situation in IHK, Sheher Bano said Pakistani journalists were extremely concerned about the plight of journalists, especially female journalists where a ban on freedom of speech, threat to lives of journalists, suspension of internet for days and months, has crippled media for the past many years.
She criticised the media policy of the Indian government, which is simply meant to control and curb media freedom and many journalists and media persons were apprehended, jailed, charged, interrogated, detained and threatened by the Indian forces for various reasons under this policy because the journalists were accused of not following the narrative of the government.
She termed the new media policy released by the Jammu and Kashmir administration, as being against the norms of the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press. And criticised the human rights violation faced by women journalists who often face disrespected or are abused by the Indian forces. She extended the PFUJ’s support to their colleagues in Afghanistan and IHK, at the same time praising the bravery of the female journalists who are performing their duties under extreme pressure, despite facing communication blackout, media gag, sexual harassment, intimidation and risk to their lives and career.
She said, “Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has always supported press freedom in the region and has extended full support to journalists working in the countries of the region and beyond, through its strong statements in support of freedom of speech, which is the constitutional right of every individual.”