In a first in Pakistan’s history, reporters were not allowed to enter a joint session of Parliament on Monday.
Parliamentary reporters were to be present in the press gallery for President Dr Arif Alvi’s address but entered the hallway to find that the door was locked. The press gallery was closed for the journalists.
The Parliamentary Reporters Association (PRA) strongly condemned the closure of the press gallery and said, “Closing the gallery is the worst dictatorship.”
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Senator PPP, Sherry Rehman condemning the closing of the press gallery tweeted, “This did not happen even in martial law era. Govt [government] is on collision course with democracy”
Twitterati lashed out at the government for banning the journalists from entering the session.
Journalist Absar Alam tweeted, “This is the Parliament’s Press Gallery, which was never closed during the Martial Law era, but is closed today so that journalists cannot enter.”
Journalist Nusrat Javeed tweeted, “Have been covering Parliament since 1985. Even in [the] worst of times governments never behaved so humiliating to media. Sad. Really sad.”
Journalist Owais Tohid took to Twitter and said, “Highly condemnable act to ban accredited journalists from covering joint parliament session. So-called punishment for protesting proposed draconian laws to silence Pakistani media.”
Even though the reporters have been banned from covering the session, the joint session is being aired live on news channels.