ISLAMABAD: Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Qasim Suri on Tuesday referred the issue of non-payment of salaries to journalists to the Standing Committee on Information with directions to submit its report within 30 days.
Sanaullah Khan Mastikhel of the PTI had raised the issue and informed the house about a protest camp set up by the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ) outside the Parliament House against non-payment of salaries by some media houses to their employees.
The deputy speaker forwarded the matter to the relevant standing committee as per Rule 199 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly. He said that 30 days were required for submission of a report about any matter referred to the standing committee.
Mr Suri asked Sanaullah Khan Mastikhel and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan to meet the protesting journalists, along with members belonging to other parties.
After holding talks with the journalists, Mr Khan assured the house that the government stood with media workers and would do its best to resolve their issues.
The minister of state said that the government would stop payment to media houses if they did not pay dues to their workers. He said that the issue would be taken up with Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan and its resolution would be ensured.
Khawaja Asif of the PML-N and Aminul Haque of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan asked the government to take effective steps to resolve the issue.
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists president Afzal Butt and RIUJ president Amir Sajjad Syed have forwarded a set of demands to the information ministry asking the government to clear the advertising bills of media outlets with the condition that they must pay outstanding dues to their employees.
Dr Awan and Adviser on Media Yousuf Beg Mirza visited the protest camp in the evening.