KARACHI/RAWALPINDI/LAHORE/PESHAWAR: The countrywide protests by the Geo and Jang Group workers against the illegal arrest of Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman and the stringent curbs against...
KARACHI/RAWALPINDI/LAHORE/PESHAWAR: The countrywide protests by the Geo and Jang Group workers against the illegal arrest of Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman and the stringent curbs against media freedom entered 113th day on Saturday.
The group's workers were joined in solidarity by a large cross section of civil society, political leaders, journalist and media organisations and labour union representatives who dubbed the group's Editor In Chief's continued arrest as part of government's campaign against the group's independent editorial policies.
In Rawalpindi, the Joint Action Committee of the workers of Geo and Jang Group continued their demonstration near the Jang building and said that keeping him behind the bars illegally meant putting the freedom of media in chains. The group's workers along with journalists organizations, representatives of the civil society and political workers raised chanting slogans and displayed placards demanding release of Editor-in-Chief. They said the international human rights, media organizations and renowned intellectuals have condemned the illegal arrest and criticised it as an attack on the freedom of media in the country.
The Chairman Joint Action Committee of workers of Geo and Jang Group Nasir Chisti, Chairman Editorial Committee Jang Rawalpindi Hanif Khalid, Chief Reporter Jang Rawalpindi Rana Ghulam Qadir, Abbas Alam, Najum Usmani, Kaleem Shamim, Laiq Shaukat, Amjad Ali Abbassi, Munir Shah and other workers of Geo and Jang Group said they were looking towards the superior judiciary of the country for justice and hoped that they will intervene to secure Rahman's early release and bring curtain down to the dark chapter.
They said the protest was not only meant for release of Mir Shakil but also for the independence of media in the country. They termed Rahman as an an institution of journalism. They rejected the fabricated and politically motivated case against him, while slamming the fact that he has been kept under detention despite ill health to coerce him to give up the independent editorial policy.
In Karachi, while condemning the continued detention of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, Pakistan Peoples Party MNA Shahida Rehmani said that the federal government is on rampage against the voices of dissent in the country. Rehmani added that the unjust detention of Mir Shakil has corroborated the fact that the government wants to control the country's media to get away with its corruption and wrongdoings unchallenged. She said that Jang Geo Group was the biggest and most respectable media institution in the country and the attack on it was also a threat to other media houses that should not deviate from toeing the government's narrative. She denounced the malicious campaign by the government against media and demanded immediate release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.
Similarly in Peshawar, the workers of Jang-Geo Group continued their protest against the detention of their Editor-in-Chief. Holding banners and placards inscribed with slogans against the arrest of the chief editor of the Jang Group, the protesters demanded immediate release Mir Shakil and withdrawal of cases against him. Chanting slogans against the government and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for detaining the chief editor of the major media group in a 34-year old private property case, they said he was arrested without completing investigation despite his cooperation.Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) provincial spokesperson Ikhtiar Wali Khan visited the protest camp of Jang Group workers to extend solidarity with them. Speaking on the occasion, Ikhtiar Wali Khan condemned the sitting 'selected rulers' for illegally detaining the chief editor of the major media group to victimize him for his bold editorial policies. Extending his party’s support to the Jang Group, he said the irresponsible rulers could neither suppress the voice of independent media nor they could pressure the opposition through such tactics. He said they would jointly work for the country as the selected government has ruined the entire system and they could not run affairs of the government. The PML-N leader demanded immediate release of Mir Shakil and withdrawal of cases against him. He appreciated role of the Jang Group and Mir Shakil for the welfare of people.
Similarly in Lahore, the protest of journalists and employees of Jang-Geo group against the illegal detention of the group's Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman continued outside their offices on the Davis Road.
They criticised the PTI-led government and said the Niazi-NAB alliance is the main cause of disaster in the country. They said the rulers are trying to suppress the independent media by arresting Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in a 34-year-old fake property case and added that the workers of the Group would continue to protest till his release. “His unlawful arrest is an attack on the freedom of press and the powers that be are following anti-press and anti-media policies to stop them from highlighting the truth,’ they said.
The protest was attended by Shaheen Qureshi, Munawar Hussain, Farooq Awan, human rights activist Abdullah Malik, Zaheer Anjum, Khizar Hayat Gondal, Zahid Ali Khan, Owais Qarni, Shahid Aziz, Muhammad Ali, Munir Khokhar, Javed Hamed, Muhammad Farooq, Babar Waseem, Afzal Abbas, Mohammad Shafiq and others.
They were carrying banners and placards inscribed with slogans demanding immediate release of the editor-in-chief and withdrawal of cases against him. They chanted slogans against the government for following in the footsteps of dictators in suppressing the voice of the independent media. The PTI government, they said, was using the NAB for political victimisation of opponents while remaining silent over other mega corruption scandals.