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April 27, 2020

Campaign for release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman continues

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April 27, 2020

RAWALPINDI: The journalists along with the civil society, lawyers, traders and political workers continued their protest against the illegal arrest of Editor-in-Chief of Geo and Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman on Sunday and demanded of the Supreme Court of Pakistan to take notice of illegal arrest that was only meant to attack the freedom of press that was guaranteed in the Constitution of Pakistan.

The workers of Geo and Jang Group and Federal Union of Journalists also adopted a resolution in the protest camp outside the offices of Jang and The News at the Murree Road in Rawalpindi and demanded through the resolution from the Supreme Court of Pakistan to take notice of the illegal arrest of Editor-in-Chief of Geo and Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

Addressing the protest camp that entered 45 days, Secretary General Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists Nasir Zaidi said the journalists now only have the option of the higher judiciarywhere they are expected to get justice. “The Supreme Court of Pakistan should take suo moto notice of illegal arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman,” he said.

Ex-President PFUJ Afzal Butt said all the international federations of journalists, and human rights organizations were demanding the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman from illegal arrest that was only meant to put the media under pressure. He said the Supreme Court of Pakistan should take notice of illegal arrest of Mir Shakil as the eyes of all international organizations were on judiciary of Pakistan for the provision of justice.

Chairman Joint Action Committee of workers of Geo and Jang Group and President Jang workers Union Nasir Chisti said Mir Shakil was in the custody of NAB for the last 45 days and the journalists along with the civil society were on the roads for getting justice and for the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. He said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman never compromised on principles and will never bow before them as he believes in the freedom of press.

Workers of Jang Group Munir Shah said the rulers always tried to mute the voices of free media but they always failed. “Though Imran Khan pretends to be democratic person yet he is acting like a dictator who did not like the truth,” he said. He said the protest camp will continue till the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

Ex-spokesman of Azad Jammu and Kashmir government Murtaza Durrani said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman should be released as the case against him was only fake and fabricated. PML-N worker Obaid Abbassi said the PML-N will continue to stand with the workers of Geo and Jang Group for the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

Representative of Labour Union Chaudhry Manzoor said the whole country was demanding the release of Editor-in-Chief of Geo and Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. Chairman MWO Kaleem Shamim said despite passing of over 40 days, the government completely failed to tell the people of Pakistan about the reason of arresting Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman. Leader of Awami Markazi Party Master Jamil Bhatti appealed to the Supreme Court of Pakistan to take notice of illegal arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

KARACHI: The protest camp on the call of the Joint Action Committee of workers of Geo and Jang Group against the unlawful and unjust arrest of the group’s Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman continued in Karachi on Sunday.

On Sunday, representatives of various political parties and journalist bodies also visited the protest camp set up outside the Jang Building on the I.I. Chundrigar Road to show their solidarity with the protest and to demand the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Business Forum Karachi president Farzana Khan, Pakistan People’s Party’s Young wing secretary information Fareed Memon, PML-N Sindh’s vice-president Iqbal Khaksar, All Pakistan Newspapers Employees Confederation’s secretary-general Shakil Yamin Kanga, The News Employees Union’s president Saeed Mohiuddin Pasha and Javed Press Union’s general secretary Rana Muhammad Yusuf were the key speakers who in their speeches said that the case against Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was bogus and he was being victimized for publishing the truth.

Speaking to the demonstration, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Farzana Khan said that stopping the media from writing and speaking the truth is against the country’s law and the constitution.

“The illegal arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman shows the rulers do not want the citizens to be informed about the truth.” The PML-N leader demanded the Supreme Court to take notice of the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in a decades’ old case.

The PPP’s youth leader Fareed Memon said that arresting Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in a baseless case has proved that Prime Minister Imran Khan was taking revenge from the Jang-Geo Group for the news and opinions he or his cohorts did not like. He said that his party’s top leaders, including Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, had also faced such baseless cases. He demanded that the government must release Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman immediately.

Shakil Yamin Kanga said that in the past, governments also tried to suppress the independence of Jang-Geo Group but they failed miserably and this government will also meet the same fate.

Other speakers said that the media is facing a serious financial crisis and the media is under chains. There will be no compromise on the freedom of the media and they will continue the struggle against its coercion and will not be part of tactics to hide the truth from the people, they vowed. They said that the government has left no stone unturned to make the lives of media workers difficult yet they will continue to struggle for the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and if need be, will take to streets denouncing the curbs on the freedom of media.

LAHORE: The protest camp against the unjust arrest of Jang/Geo Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman continued here on Sunday with the participants condemning the arrest and demanding his immediate release.

The protesters comprising Jang/Geo media group workers, journalists from various newspapers and media organisations and people from different walks of life vowed to continue their struggle for the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, who has been under arrest for 45 days now.

They said the arrest was an attack on free press and an attempt to impose curbs on media in Pakistan and termed it unacceptable.Senior journalists Shaheen Qureshi, Raees Ansari, Zaheer Anjum, Irfan Nazeer and others spoke on the occasion and strongly condemned the arrest in a decades’ old fake case.

The speakers observed that the arrest of the Jang/Geo Media Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was politically motivated and in violation of basic human rights. They said the arrest was not only illegal but also against moral values and it was unfortunate that Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman had been under arrest on the second day of the holy month of Ramazan.

The demonstrators also chanted slogans and said the oppressive tactics could not continue for long, and no one could silence the independent media in the country which had been playing the role of a true watchdog. They said journalists across the country were united against the unjust arrest and would not rest until the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

The speakers said journalists would continue their struggle for a free media and freedom of expression in the country, adding that Jang/Geo media group was always targeted for its independent editorial policy. They termed the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman a conspiracy against free press in Pakistan and vowed to continue their struggle against the conspiracy.

Meanwhile, veteran journalist Azhar Munir continued his hunger strike on the 29th consecutive day on Sunday against the unlawful arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

Sixty-five-year-old Azhar Munir has been observing the hunger strike on a footpath in front of the Lahore Press Club for the cause of free press and freedom of expression in Pakistan as he sees the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman as an attack on the media freedom in the country. Azhar Munir is visited by senior journalists and his friends on daily basis, who join him to express solidarity with him for true media freedom in the country.