Press clubs and journalist unions across the country have condemned Dr Shahbaz Gill’s comments regarding journalist Asma Shirazi. Gill has been banned from entry by all press clubs until he apologises to Shirazi.
The special assistant to the prime minister had addressed a press conference on Thursday in which he accused senior journalist Shirazi of maligning First Lady Bushra in an article about the current political and economic situation in the country.
Gill press conference was held on an article penned by Shirazi for BBC Urdu in which she criticised the government over its policies. However, the writer did not name any individual, including Prime Minister Imran Khan’s wife.
Addressing the press conference, Gill had said, “People often forget that First Lady Bushra Bibi is a daughter of Pakistan first, then she is a mother and then a wife. If you have any proof Asma Shirzai Sahiba of all the things you have accused her of, then you have every right to report news if you have the proof of it, but don’t make news out of assumptions. If you dislike the prime minister’s family, you can hold a grudge against them, but there are ethical limits.”
Gill was also disapproving of the support Shirazi was receiving from journalists on Twitter. Many were tweeting with the hashtag ‘I stand with Asma Shirazi.’
Gill asked whether she was doing “all this after failing to find any scandal of the PM in the last three years.”
Gill’s press conference attracted widespread condemnation on social media.
Lahore Press Club released a statement condemning the comments by PM’s aide and said, “All Press Clubs of Pakistan will ban the entry of Shahbaz Gill, and the media will boycott him.”
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) also warned of ‘serious consequences’ for the use of abusive and intimidating language against Asma Shirazi by Shahbaz Gill.