LAHORE - Editor The Nation and President Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) Arif Nizami has been given the human rights award for courageously raising voice against human rights violation and for his meritorious services towards the freedom of Press. Chairman Human Rights Society of Pakistan (HRSP) SM Zafar handed over the award to Arif Nizami at the 28th HRSP Award Ceremony held here at a local hotel on Sunday. People from different walks of life participated in the ceremony. Senior journalist Mazhar Abbas, MP Bhandara, late Mrs Saeeda Essa Qazi and Zia Ahmed advocate were the other recipients of the award. Speaking on the occasion, Arif Nizami said, "Media is not free even today in Pakistan as it has been facing different kinds of restrictions." He said that not only journalists, the owners of newspapers and private channels had also rendered sacrifices for the freedom of press. He pointed out that Nawa-i-Waqt Group of Publications suffered the ban of advertisement for two consecutive years while some private news channels were also barred from airing their transmission. Arif said the journalists had discharged their duties at the expense of their lives and added it was not only happening in Pakistan that journalists were being murdered while performing their duties but had become a worldwide phenomenon. "Pakistani media is not enjoying full freedom but it will have to struggle hard to achieve this goal," he maintained. He also said the journalists working in electronic media were taking heavy salaries that had made the Wage Board Award irrelevant. SM Zafar criticised the deteriorating condition of the human rights in Pakistan saying, the situation was never so bad as it is right now. "The political workers have set up their private torture cells. Police and administration is treating everyone with same wand. Superior judiciary is also in bad shape as it is passing through critical period while the schools in Northern areas are being bombed." He said his organisation had given people a ray of hope and making efforts to improve human rights situation in the country. Mazhar Abbas said the award he received belonged to the whole journalist community. He said the journalists in general and of electronic media in particular faced immense pressure. He said 43 journalists had lost their lives since 1999. He said the electronic media was facing threats from secret agencies, non-state actors, Talibans, ethnic and linguistic groups. "The protection of job and life is the biggest problem for journalists," he added. Amjad Islam Amjad, Professor Humayun Saeed, Mehnaz Rafi (PML-Q) and others also spoke on the occasion. They expressed serious reservations over the violation of human rights in FATA, Swat and tribal areas.