ISLAMABAD ( MEDIA REPORT )
A shouting match broke out between PML-N ministers and journalists outside the premises of the Supreme Court during recess in Wednesday’s hearing of the Panamagate case.
The protesting journalists — who accused Anusha Rehman, minister of state for IT, of unlawfully seizing journalist Azam Gill’s phone and threatening him with 14 years in prison — refused to let Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique address the government’s daily press conference on the Panamagate case, shouting him down despite his repeated attempts to speak.
The phone was reportedly returned to the journalist, but the protestors took issue with the ‘harassment’ of one of their peers.
Rafique attempted to defuse the situation by appealing that the journalists exercise restraint and let the government address the issue in due time.
He conceded that it was inappropriate that a journalist’s phone had been seized, but also pointed out that regulations do not allow individuals to shoot videos within court premises and that the journalist should not have done so.
Marriyum Aurangzeb, the minister of state for information and broadcasting, took over after Rafique’s attempts to contain the situation failed, asking the protesting journalists to resolve the matter in a separate meeting in her office.
However, there was no let-up in the sloganeering and jeering, as the journalists would not allow the government to speak before Anusha Rehman was summoned and the ‘injustice’ was addressed then and there.
When Rafique attempted to plow through the briefing, the press corps broke up, with a large number of journalists and camera crews rising up and refusing to cover the proceedings.
Rehman, in a later press conference, claimed that she seized the phone because the journalist in question was “secretly filming” her.