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RAWALPINDI/KARACHI/MULTAN: The protests of the workers of Geo and Jang Group along with the political, civil society, journalist organizations, lawyers, traders, newspaper hawkers and all segments of the society continued on Thursday on the illegal arrest of Editor-in-Chief of Geo and Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.
On the call of the Joint Action Committee, the protest camp outside the offices of the Jang and The News continued in which the participants condemned the illegal arrest of Editor-in-Chief of Geo and Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and chanted slogans for the freedom of the press and for the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.
Addressing the protest camp, Ms Tahira Aurangzeb, MNA of the PML-N, said the Geo and Jang Group played a vital role for progress of the country. She said the NAB did not have any evidence against Editor-in-Chief of Geo and Jang Group and arrested him in a fake and fabricated case. She said Mir Shakil is a beacon of light for all those who raised the voice for the freedom of press. She demanded the government should pay the arrears of media houses.
Secretary General Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) said the voices were not only from Pakistan but also from allover the world for the release of Mir Shakil as there was a consensus among all that he was arrested in a fake and fabricated case. “All the international media organizations have joined the journalists of Pakistan in the demand for releasing editor-in-chief of Geo and Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman from illegal arrest by the NAB,” he said. He said the illegal arrest brought a bad name for Pakistan as all the international media organizations had declared the illegal arrest of Mir Shakil as an attack on the freedom of media in Pakistan.
Ex-President PFUJ Afzal Butt said the Geo and Jang Group is not alone in the struggle for the freedom of press and expression as all the journalists of the country stood with Geo and Jang Group. President RIUJ Aamir Sajjad Syed said the journalists were protesting against the illegal arrest of Mir Shakil, which will be continued till his release.
Secretary General RIUJ and Senior Correspondent of the Geo News Asif Ali Bhatti said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman always stood for the freedom of press and journalists. Editor Jang Rawalpindi Hanif Khalid said the Geo and Jang Group always stood for the cause of Pakistan. He said Mir Shakil will come out out jail as the case against him was fake and fabricated.
City Editor of The News Syed Anees Ahmed said the media is the fourth pillar of the State but unfortunately the government was targeting it. He said the NAB had arrested Mir Shakil in a fake and fabricated case just to mute the voice of the Geo and Jang Group.
Representative of Newspapers Hawkers Union Aqeel Abbassi said the hawkers of the country continue the struggle with the workers of Geo and Jang Group and journalist organizations till the release of Mir Shakil. Ex-Nazim Sajjad Khan of the PML-N said Geo and Jang Group always stood for democracy and freedom of press and never compromised on its principle.
He said Editor-in-Chief of Geo and Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman is a person who never compromised on principles. Ex-MPA Malik Iftikhar said the Geo and Jang Group always stood for the freedom of press. He said Editor-in-Chief of Geo and Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman is a brave man who never compromised even when he was arrested by the NAB in a fake and fabricated case.
Representative of Pakistan Railways Union Ishtiaq Asif said Mir Shakil was arrested in a fake and fabricated case just to victimize the Geo and Jang Group for bringing the truth before the people. He said all the labours union of the country stood with Mir Shakil.
Leader of the PML-N of Rawalpindi Ziaullah Shah said the Geo and Jang Group was targeted only for the reason that it brought the truth before the people. Ahmed Nawaz of Qaumi Watan Party said the NAB-government nexus has been exposed with the illegal arrest of Mir Shakil.
He said with the arrest of Mir Shakil, the message has been conveyed to all the media houses that whosever raised their voice for the freedom of media will be sent to jail. “Our party stood with the journalists and workers of Geo and Jang Group in the movement for the release of Mir Shakil,” he said.
Ex-MPA Ziabunnisa, party workers of PML-N Samina Sheikh, representative of Chemists Association Malik Imran, workers of PML-N Naeem Pasha, Mirza Manzoor Baig also spoke on the occasion.
KARACHI: Former senator and Pakistan Muslim League-N leader Nehal Hashmi on Thursday said that the 34-year-old property case against the Jang-Geo Group editor-in-chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman is a civil matter and the National Accountability Bureau has no jurisdiction over it. Yet, Hashmi added, its implication under the National Accountability Ordinance shows how the federal government is eager to violate and bend the law for its own gains and designs to gag the independent media in the country.
The former senator was speaking to the protest outside the Jang-Geo offices in Karachi which has been continuing for over a fortnight, demanding the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman from the custody of NAB.
He lamented the circumstances under which the Jang-Geo Group Chairman Mir Javed Rahman passed away and Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman could not be with his brother during his last moments. Hashmi said that through these acts, the government had even surpassed the Genghis tyranny. He said that it was true and obvious that the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was an intimidation to the whole media industry that if they spoke or wrote the truth, they will meet the same fate and would be behind the bars and any case could be made up against them.
He reminded the prime minister Imran Khan that he could be entangled in the same laws in which he was framing innocent people just to seek revenge and satisfy his ego.
The All Pakistan Newspapers Employees Confederation’s Secretary General Shakil Yamin Kanga said that the NAB’s role seems to have been limited to acting on the whims of the government and persecuting the people who it did not like.
Kanga said that NAB turned a blind eye towards the wheat and sugar scandals, which caused billions of rupees loss to the national exchequer and to the public because those involved in it were those who were sitting in the government and rubbed shoulders with the PM.
He asked the government to instead work for the welfare of public and citing the problems faced by the media industry demanded the payment of advertisement dues to media houses, which is affecting their operations. He said many were losing jobs because of these crises created by the government.
The Photographers Association of Pakistan’s former president, Muhammad Shoaib, said that the spree of unemployment seen during this government was unprecedented. He added that those who have tried to suppress the media have always faced defeat because in the end only truth prevails.
Cameramen Association’s secretary general Farhan Ilyas said that no one is above the law and if Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman has done something wrong, then he should be held accountable but shouldn’t be persecuted as the government has vendetta against him.
Geo News Karachi Bureau chief Fahim Siddiqui said that already the media workers were without salaries for the past several months and now the government had attempted to cripple the industry more by taking over its independence by arresting Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. He said that this was an attack on the freedom of expression of the whole population of the country.
All Pakistan Clerks Association Karachi President Tauqeer Hussain Shah demanded the government to immediately release Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and vowed that clerks will stand together with the media workers in their battle for the independence and sustenance of the industry. Others who spoke at the demonstration included The News Employees Union’s general secretary Dara Zafar, Javed Press Union’s general secretary Rana Yusuf, Geo News reporter Qaseem Saeed and The News Employees Union’s president Saeed Muhiuddin Pasha.
LAHORE: As the protests against the illegal arrest of Jang-Geo Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman continue countrywide, Anjuman-e-Tajiraan Pakistan President Khalid Pervaiz has termed his arrest a matter of shame for Pakistan in the world.
Khalid demanded the government to release Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman immediately and added that despite the popular demand of releasing MSR on bail, he would rather emphasise that he should be freed without any bail since he has been arrested without any crime. He further added that Jang/Geo Editor-in-Chief has become the voice of every trader and shopkeeper and the whole world wanted him to be freed. Senior journalists Pervaiz Bashir, Maqsood Butt and Shaheen Qureshi pointed out that the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman should be condemned as much as possible. They added that MSR is behind the bars because of speaking, writing and upholding the truth. They said the protest will continue till the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman from this illegal and unethical confinement.
Those who attended the protest included senior journalists Shaheen Qureshi, Raees Ansari, Pervaiz Bashir, Maqsood Butt, Zahid Ali Khan and many others.
MULTAN: Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Senator Sirajul Haq on Thursday demanded the release of Jang-Geo Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. Addressing a ceremony to distribute ration among special persons here, he condemned the government for using the National Accountability Bureau as a tool against the free media. He said that the NAB had become a blot in the name of free justice. He said that the government and NAB had failed in proving charges against Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.
He said the people of Pakistan were not satisfied with the government narrative over biased accountability. He said that the civil society in Pakistan and international journalists were demanding immediate release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. He said the poor performance of NAB could be assessed from the Panama Leaks as only mainstream political leadership was targeted. Senator Sirajul Haq said that 436 persons were listed in the Panama Leaks, but all of them were not investigated. The NAB should perform wisely, impartially and honestly, he demanded. The accountability should be across-the-board instead of a particular personality, politician or group, he added. He said that the government had failed in providing relief to the poor class affected by the lockdown. He said that the government was not taking the corona pandemic seriously. He said that the doctors and journalists were frontline soldiers in the fight against corona, but the government was ignoring them. He said that he visited the Nishtar Hospital, District Jail and Rescue 1122 but the situation was presenting a bleak scenario as they were not provided protective kits. Senator Sirajul Haq said that the JI hosted a ceremony in the honour of the most neglected segment of the society, special persons, to realise them that the whole society was backing them. He said the government had failed in approaching the real poor families to provide them relief. Criticising the formation of the Corona Tiger Force, he said it would be a wastage of money. The government always spoke about China, but it did not follow the Chinese preventive measures against corona, he added.
Criticising Prime Minister Imran Khan, Siraj asked him to make efforts for bringing all the political stakeholders on one page to combat corona. JI office-bearers Dr Safdar Hashmi, Rao Zafar, Asif Mehmood, Kanwar Siddique and others were also present on the occasion.
Meanwhile, civil society activists, political workers and journalists on Thursday continued their hunger strike and demanded the release of Jang/Geo Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. The workers of The News, Jang and Geo were also present. Workers of JUI-F led by Multan district Ameer Allama Ayazul Haq Qasmi and Naib Ameer Allama Abu Bakr visited the hunger strike camp and expressed solidarity with the Jang Group. Speaking on the occasion, Allama Ayazul Haq Qasmi said that the NAB had arrested Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman without registration of a case. He said that political parties, rights bodies and journalists in Pakistan and the world over were demanding the release of Mir Shakil, but the government was not ready to address the domestic and global demands. He demanded immediate release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. JUI-F ex-ticket holder Naqeebullah Kakar also demanded the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.
PESHAWAR: The workers of Jang Group continued their protest against the arrest of Mr Shakil in front of their offices on Thursday. Carrying banners and placards, the workers urged the government to release Mir Shakil and withdraw cases against him. Women parliamentarians from all the major political parties including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Awami National Party (ANP), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), Jamaat-e-Islami and Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) visited the camp to express solidarity with the protesting workers and urge the government to release Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and withdraw cases against him.
Speaking on the occasion, PML-N central secretary general Shaheen Habibullah and provincial general secretary Farah Khan, former ANP MPA Shagufta Malik, JUI-F’s Rehana Ismail, JI MPA Humaira Khatoon, QWP’s Nasreen Khattak, and PPP’s Saima Munir termed the illegal arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman an attack on independent press and said it would be resisted.
Shaheen Habibullah said the PTI has exposed its real face during its two years’ rule by arresting opposition leaders and media owners to suppress their voices instead of working for the welfare of people. She said Mir Shakil was arrested because he highlighted the truth.
Shagufta Malik said selected rulers had been imposed on the people in the name of democracy and they started political victimization instead of accepting criticism. She said the Jang Group was being punished for exposing the government’s failures and scandals.
Rehana Ismail observed that NAB was not an independent institution but was working on the directives of the government. She said NAB should hold investigations into mega corruption cases like Billion Tree Tsunami, BRT, Malam Jabba, etc, if it was an independent institution. She asked as to why it adopted silence over the sugar and flour scandals.
Saima Munir termed the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman as illegal and said her party would side with the media and workers in difficult times. Farah Khan said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was the voice of poor people including farmers, students, labourers and women but he had been kept in illegal custody without filing an FIR against him.
Nasreen Khattak said the illegal arrest of Mir Shakil was earning a bad name for Pakistan in the world. She termed it an attack on the press and democracy. The resident editor Daily Jang, Arshad Aziz Malik, recalled that Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was arrested in a 34-year-old property case. He said the rulers were trying to pressurise the Jang Group but they would not succeed in their mission.