This week 50 years ago: Journalists' strike and American sculptures.

Byline: Peerzada Salman

IT was a momentous week in the history of Karachi in particular (because it's demographically the largest city of Pakistan) and the country in general. It seemed as if the build-up to the weeks of demonstrations carried out by the newsmen of the country had reached climax. No need to refresh memory about their demands as they have been well-documented and highlighted in this column too.

So, on April 15, 1970 the working journalists of Pakistan went on indefinite strike. Although the word indefinite is often loosely used in such circumstances, the strike lasted for about 10 days. Yes, till April 24; and during that period, a big number of newspapers did not get published. This was unprecedented. The strike was put into effect in response to a call given by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) backed by other bodies, including the Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ). There are different opinions on why it ended in a little more than a week, a few of which are quoted pretty often. Eminent journalist Zamir Niazi in his book The Press in Chains writes that the strike came to an end because then minister for information Gen Sher Ali Khan succeeded in buying the loyalties of a handful of journalists. Historian and poet Aqeel Abbas Jafri in his book Pakistan Chronicle writes that it was called off after the authorities were able to create the left- and right-wing divide between the members of the community. Prof Dr Tauseef Ahmed Khan, who has written extensively on the subject, says 100 journalists were fired as a result of the...

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