Thursday May 23, 2024

Arrest of Geo/Jang Group Editor-in-Chief: Journalists, politicians, civil society members ask CJ to take suo motu notice

By Bureau report
March 15, 2020

PESHAWAR: The journalists, politicians, traders and members of civil society on Saturday staged protest rallies and sit-ins across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to condemn the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, the Editor-in-Chief of The News International, Jang and Geo News and demanded his immediate release.

In the provincial capital, the Khyber Union of Journalists (KhUJ) and members of the Peshawar Press Club (PPC) took out a rally against the arrest and asked the government to release Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and restore the Geo News transmission on its previous numbers.

Led by the PPC president, Syed Bukhar Shah and KhUJ former president Arshad Aziz Malik, the protesters were carrying banners and placards inscribed with slogans against the government and illegal action of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

They marched on the road outside Peshawar Press Club and chanted slogans to demand release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and restoration of Geo News programmes. Besides the journalists, members of civil society, and the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) secretary information, Abdul Jalil Jan, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Ikhtiar Wali, Syed Wali Shah Afridi, secretary information, Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) Tariq Khan and others also participated in the protest rally.

The protesters vowed that they would not to accept the dictatorial policies and illegal actions of the government. Speaking on the occasion, President PPC Syed Bukhar Shah criticised the government for arresting Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman without fulfilling legal formalities in a 34 years old property case.

He recalled that such tactics had been applied in the past against The News and Geo only to stop free media from performing its duty. He said the journalists had always rendered sacrifices for the independence of media and would do so in future. He asked the government to release Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman forthwith.

Arshad Aziz Malik said that Mir Shakil was arrested in a private property case purchased many years ago only to pressurise the The News and Geo to toe the government line. He said the Jang Group had been reporting truth, which was not acceptable to the government and rulers. He asked the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take notice of the illegal action of the NAB and government.

The JUI-F Abdul Jalil Jan condemned the arrest and said that the price-hike, unemployment and lawlessness had made the lives of people miserable but the government was trying to gag voice of journalists.

Terming the arrest of Mir Shakil as a warning to others media workers and groups, he said that the rulers wanted the media to follow their dictates.

He extended his party’s support to Jang Group at every forum. PML-N Ikhtiar Wali criticised the NAB for arresting Mir Shakil and acting as subservient body of the government. He said the irresponsible rulers have proved that they could not tolerate independent press and criticism of the opposition leaders.

The NAB, he said, took action against the opposition leaders and now has started arresting journalists, which was not acceptable to them at any cost. He said his party would file a writ petition in the court against the arrest.

The QWP, Tariq Khan termed arrest of Mir Shakil a shameful act and an effort to strangulate voice of independent media .

SWABI: The journalists as well as activists of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), and Jamaat-i-Islam (JI) staged a protest demonstration against the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman .

Carrying placards inscribed with different slogans against curbs on media and against the arrest of Geo Group Editor-in-Chief, the journalists and leaders of the parties gathered at Karnal Sher Khan Chowk . Speaking on the occasion, the leaders asked the government to release Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman forthwith.

NOWSHERA: The local journalists along with leaders of different parties including JUI-F, PML-N, Awami National Party, JI, Qaumi Watan Party, traders, newspapers hawkers and civil society members condemned the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

The protesters started march from the Nowshera Press Club and gathered at Shobra Chowk on Grand Trunk Road. The journalists and leaders asked the government to mend its ways as free media was not its enemy. They appealed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take suo moto notice of the illegal action of NAB and order release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

HANGU: The journalists belonging to unions of the Orakzai and Hangu press clubs staged protest rallies and sit-ins against the arrest and termed it an attack on the independent press.

The media persons staged a protest meeting at the main chowk in Hangu bazaar and chanted slogans against the government for its anti-journalism policies. Senior journalists including Israr Ahmad Orakzai, Shaheed Khan Orakzai, Tariq Mughal and Saleh din Orakzai led the protest rally.

The protesting journalists said that the NAB had crossed all limits of decency and ignored legal course to harass respectable people of the society in a bid to appease the rulers.

BANNU: Journalists of Bannu Press Club in their protest also condemned the NAB for the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in a private property case prior to the completion of an inquiry. Muhammad Alam Khan, Ajmal Qamar, Adil Manan and others said that the day of the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman would be remembered as one of the darkest days in the country’s journalism history.

They termed the arrest a brazen attack on the free press and sane voices and demanded his release forthwith.

TAKHTBHAI: Staging a protest rally against arrest of the Jang and Geo editor-in-chief, the journalists of Shergarh Press Club vowed that they would not accept any restrictions on the free media.

Leading the rally, press club president Bakhtullah Jan Hasrat said that it was regrettable that the independent media organisations were being muzzled to silence them in one way or the other.

On this occasion, senior journalists Muslim Khan Sabir, Fazal Hadi, Murad Ali Murad, Wahab Yousafi, Afsar Ali Khan and Jamil-ur-Rahman also flayed the government for the arrest and vowed to resist all kinds of tactics against the free press.

CHAKDARA: Local politicians, traders and members of civil society also joined the protest of journalists staged against the arrest. Pakistan People’s Party leader and former minister Bakht Baidar Khan, Amanullah Khan, Adinzai Qaumi Jirga chief Khurshid Ali Khan, Jamaat-e-Islami leader Amir Sltanat advocate, traders’ leader Khawaj Faizul Ghafoor, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party leader Sartaj Khan, senior journalist Syed Zafar Ali Shah and others condemned the arrest of editor-in-chief of the News and Geo News and demanded his unconditional release.

MINGORA: The journalists of Swat Press Club also staged a rally and announced a three-day mourning against the arrest. They chanted slogans against the government and NAB and asked them to stop harassing free media organisations. Press club ex-chairman Syed Shahabuddin, chairman Sherinzada, general secretary Salim Athar, electronic media president Niaz Ahmad spoke on the occasion and demanded immediate release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

Protest rallies also held in Kohat, Chitral, Bajaur, Mohmand Upper Dir Lower Dir, Lakki Marwat, Tank, Dera Ismail Khan North Waziristan and South Waziristan, Mardan, Kohistan, Battagram and elsewhere in KP and demanded unconditional relase.