ISLAMABAD: The Speaker of the National Assembly, Asad Qaiser has been accused of spreading fake news regarding the closure of the Press Galley of the National Assembly during President Arif Alvi’s speech.
Closure of the Press Gallery had been condemned by the journalistic community since they claimed it reflected the draconian stance of the PTI government towards the media.
Asad Qaiser had claimed that he had ordered the closure of the Press Gallery after receiving reports of a possible clash between two groups of reporters.
“I could not afford to see the two groups fight. It would have been an insult of the journalists and the house,” Asad Qaiser said, justifying closing the press gallery for the first time in Pakistan’s history.
Asad Qaiser also claimed that he closed the press gallery after consulting the Parliamentary Reporters Association and that he had also met PRA representatives on Tuesday, however, PRA refuted Qaiser’s claim and challenged him to name which PRA representatives he met.
“There is no truth in the reports that a PRA delegation met the speaker on Tuesday,” reads a statement issued by the PRA’s information secretary Malik Saeed Awan.
Awan denied the speaker’s claim that the PRA was on board when he took the decision to close down the press gallery.
Awan accused Speaker Asad Qaiser of spreading fake news and the PRA has called for an inquiry to ascertain who had met the speaker as its representatives.
After being challenged openly by the PRA, Speaker Asad Qaiser found it wise to admit that it was his mistake to close the press gallery, saying that it was due to a “misunderstanding”.