January 2018 News

Kashmir Press Club Thrown Open After Half A Century

8 January 2018
Greater Kashmir
Mudasir Yaqoob

Srinagar: Kashmir was the only place where journalists were having no common or meeting point in form of a Press Club where they could connect with each other on issues of importance. Finally, journalists got an address after years of efforts when they threw open Kashmir Press Club (KPC) at Polo View here on Monday. Scribes across cross section of media houses assembled at the venue and celebrated on the occasion by wishing each other as KPC president Muhammad Saleem Pandit threw open the club also known as Aiwan-e-Sahafat. The formal orders of handing over of the building H-9B at Polo View was issued in Jammu on Thursday after a meeting of the president, Saleem Pandit and director information, Munir-ul-Islam with the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. Joint director information Kashmir Zahoor Ahmad Mir today formally handed over the possession of the building to media fraternity. The Press Club designated as 'Aiwane-e-Sahafat' is first such journalist-run place for media persons in Kashmir. 'It was a long standing demand of the journalist fraternity. Earlier initiated by stalwart journalists like Muhammad Sayed Malik and Khawaja Sonauallah in 1970. Later, in late 1970s', the then government closed it down. Today, it came into existence again after the gap of around fifty years,' said Muhammad Saleem Pandit, president KPC. 'It is the historic day for journalist fraternity in Kashmir. It is an initiative through which all the journalists can come under one roof and express their ideas and suggestions for the betterment of journalism and journalists in the Valley,' Pandit said. He added that establishment of KPC is a collective initiative taken by Kashmir journalists and the government. 'Our effort will be to make it functional as soon as possible. It is will be a meeting point for the journalists, intellectuals and business persons to exchange ideas,' he added. Pandit informed that apart from all other necessary and modern facilities, KPC will have round the clock internet facility. 'At times, a situation arises when internet services are snapped in Kashmir. However, KPC will be a place where internet services will continue and journalists can perform their professional duties from here,' he said. He added that journalists in Kashmir are often 'stressed due to prevailing situation in Kashmir.' 'We will have a modern gym at club where journalists can exercise to reduce stress. Intellectuals and businessmen can also obtain its membership under the laid down rules,' he said. He added that KPC will be designed as to make it one of the top press clubs of the India. 'Due to ongoing winter, we cannot take up construction work. By the end of May or June next year, the club will be fully operational,' he said. Deputy commissioner Srinagar Syed Abid Rasheed Shah and senior superintendent of police Srinagar Imtiaz Ismail Parray were also present on the occasion. Both officials congratulated the journalist fraternity and assured that the administration would help the club in all possible manners for its smooth functioning. The DC passed on the spot directions to the concerned officials to undertake the cleanliness of the building and its surroundings. 'We will take all measures to make this club vibrant. We are here to extend every possible help to media fraternity,' the DC added. 'It is proud moment. We aim to build it on modern lines and prove it to be beneficial for media fraternity,' said Shuja-ul-Haq KPC vice president. Shamim Mehraj, KPC general secretary said that, 'it will be endeavor to make this club vibrant with modern design, amenities, technology and of course top quality and affordable food.' 'We are happy that media fraternity has its own place, once functional, there will be elections so that the fraternity can elect its own office bearers,' he added. Senior journalist Bashir Manzar said that 'finally journalists have got their address.' 'We have been struggling for this for thirty to forty years, but unfortunately nothing was done. Now the club has been established. It is dream coming true. I congratulate all media fraternity who joined heads and hands and transformed this dream into reality,' he added. Habib Naqash, veteran photojournalist, said 'it is the place where seniors can guide youngsters and budding journalist to excel in the field of journalism.' 'Often, these youngsters had to look for seniors in different offices and places. Now, it will be a platform where seniors really can give them time to help them improve and excel,' he added. Peerzada Aashiq, a journalist said it was after years of struggle that scribes in Kashmir would have a common meeting ground to delve and discuss issues of importance confronting media. Naseer Ganie, a journalist, said that it is an initiative for welfare of journalists. 'It is the process to initiate process of institutionalization of journalists,' he added. 'At least there is some place for journalists where they can exchange ideas. It will also prove beneficial for society because till now there was no common space for journalists where they could sit to discuss the problems faced by common people and highlight the same in an organized manner,' said Zulfkar Majid a journalist. 'Anywhere in country, journalists enjoy this facility, but till now journalists in Kashmir where deprived of this facility. It is good initiative,' he added. Farooq Javid, a senior photojournalist said that media fraternity is thankful to government. 'It is a step towards welfare of journalists. Kashmir Editors Guild made the efforts and KPC adhoc body headed by Muhammad Saleem Pandit successfully pursued the matter. We are also thankful to them,' he added. Another journalist, Manzoor-ul-Hassan, said that 'that KPC for young journalists is a place where they can meet everyone mostly their seniors. 'It will help us to share views and help us to learn from seniors about our profession. It will also help us to fill the gap between new comers and experienced. Surely, it will be place where we can take benefit of seniors to learn and excel in our profession,' he added. Mir Farhat, another journalist said that former Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed had also promised media fraternity of providing space for this club. 'It was also his dream and assurance. Today, it has come true. We all are thankful to the present government,' he added. Among others who were present on the occasion include senior editor Greater Kashmir Arshad Hussain, KPC secretary administration Asif Qureshi, members from managing committee Ehsan Fazili, Shahnawaz Ahmad, TV journalists Mir Fareed, Manoj Koul, Zeenat Zeeshan Fazil and Firdous Ellahi.