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March 23, 2020

Protests continue across country for release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman


March 23, 2020

LAHORE: Protest demonstrations continued across all major cities of the country on Sunday for the release of Jang/Geo Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman from illegal detention of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

Employees of Jang/Geo, political and religious leaders and workers and civil society members participated in the demonstrations and demanded immediate release of the Jang/Geo Editor-in-Chief.

Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain said in a statement that Jang Group is a big media house, and it is serving masses in and outside the country. He said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman should be released from NAB on bail immediately and made part of efforts for curbing coronavirus.

The Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) said in a statement on Sunday the media workers should be exempted from restrictions on movement and distribution of newspapers should be ensured during civil lockdown. CPNE Secretary General Dr Jabbar requested Sindh Chief Minister to keep all newspaper stall open during the lockdown,

In Lahore, while taking part in the protest demonstration, Asif Hashmi, former Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) chairman, said the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was a blot on the character of NAB and the last nail in its coffin as it would result in closure of the infamous anticorruption body.

In Faisalabad, patron-in-chief of Markazi Tanzeem Tajiran Khawaja Shahid Razzaq Sakka, Faisalabad City Anjuman-e-Tajiran General Secretary Chaudhry Mahmood Alam Jatt and other trader leaders condemned the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

Pakistan People’s Party Faisalabad senior leader and former Member National Assembly Mehar Abdur Rasheed said the Jang/Geo Editor-in-Chief’s arrest was bringing a band name to the country in the comity of nations.

From Pull-11 area, former Member Punjab Assembly Rana Munawwar Ghous Khan, Tehsil Press Club Sira-e-Alamgir Chairman Sheikh Zafar Iqbal, Raja Muhammad Anwar, President Shahid Anjum Mirza, journalists Shamoon Mirza, Imran Rasheed Yawar, Chaudhry Muhammad Afzal, Ameen Farooqui, Ilyas Shami, Sheikh Saeed Rasheed, Raja Muhammad Suhail, Amjad Shah, Amir Shahzad Malik, Chaudhry Arshad Mahmood, Raja Shahid Sarwar, Muhammad Shakil, Raja Hassan Sardar, Sajid Mahmood Khokhar and others condemned the arrest in strong words and demanded immediate release from NAB detention.

Kanganour Press Club President Dr Rasheed Ahmad Khokhar, and Chairman Dr Rahmatullah Arshad called the arrest an attempt to subjugate the press freedom.

In Changa Manga, Geo TV could not be restored on cable to its actual position on Sunday. Cable operator Amjad Ali Shah said Geo was removed from cable on orders passed on by Pemra.

Press Club Pindi Ghep President Malik Iftikhar chaired a meeting of the office-bearers on Sunday and demanded the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. Former club president Faisal Munir, Malik Kamran, Subedar Muhammad Ameen, Waheed Ahmad, Malik Fahad and others attended the meeting and condemned the arrest.

Also, Pakistan Muslim League-N leader and former provincial minister Chaudhry Sher Ali Khan, while speaking in Pindi Ghep, termed the arrest an attack on independence of the press in the country.

In Peshawar, the political and business leaders announced a joint movement, along with the journalist community, against illegal detention of Jang/Geo Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. illegal change in position of Geo channel on cable and non-payment of its dues by the government. The political and trade leaders visited the offices of Jang/Geo in Peshawar and met Jang Resident Editor Arshad Aziz Malik and Peshawar Press Club President Syed Bukhar Shah and expressed solidarity with the Jang Group workers.

Members of the visiting delegation included Jamaat-e-Islami General Secretary Wasey Rehman, PML-N leader Arbab Khizar Hayat, provincial spokesperson Ikhtiya Wali Khan, and former president of Peshawar Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sharafat Ali Mubarak, who is also central president of Anjuman-e-Tajiran. The delegation assured the Jang resident editor that they would continue protest movement till release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and clearance of its advertisement dues.