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May 9, 2020

Arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman: Countrywide protest of media workers continues

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May 9, 2020

RAWALPINDI/LAHORE/PESHAWAR: The workers of Jang, Geo and The News along with representatives of civil society and political workers continued countrywide protest on Friday against illegal arrest of Editor-in-Chief of Geo and Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and pledged that the protest will continue till the release of the Editor-in-Chief. The countrywide Protest of workers of Geo and Jang Group entered in 57th day on Friday. Media workers during the protests chanted slogans for the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

Addressing the protest outside the offices of Jang and The News at Murree Road in Rawalpindi, speakers called for release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and termed the NAB laws are black laws that are enacted for the political engineering and vowed to continue their protest till the release of the Editor-in-Chief.

Secretary General Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) Nasir Zaidi said the workers of Geo and Jang Group are leading a struggle for the freedom of media along with their Editor-in-Chief. He said the Constitution protects the basic rights of the citizens and no one must be allowed to impose curbs on freedom of expression.

Editor Jang Rawalpindi Hanif Khalid said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman always stood for the principles and neither bowed nor made compromise on freedom of press.

He said Editor Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman is in the custody without any charge for last 57 days. Chairman Joint Action Committee of Workers of Geo and Jang Group Nasir Chishti said the protest camp by the workers of Geo and Jang for the release of their Editor-in-Chief will continue till the demand is accepted. Chief Reporter Jang Rawalpindi Rana Ghulam Qadir said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman will never compromise on his principles. He said some people imposed curbs on freedom of media only to hide their real faces from the people of Pakistan. Worker of Jang Group Munir Shah said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was arrested as he shows people the real face of the rulers.

Amjad Abbasi and Nusrat Malik demanded release of the Editor-in-Chief and said not only the national, but also international media and human rights organisations and intellectuals are demanding the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

In Lahore, a demonstration against the arrest of Jang/Geo Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was held on Friday.

Among others, Asif Ali Bhatti, Secretary of Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists, Arshad Ansari, President of Lahore Press Club, Shaheen Qureshi, Maqsood Butt, Khizar Hayat Gondal, Zahid Ali Khan, Adnan Malik, Asif Butt, workers of Jang/Geo Group and people belonging to different walks of life attended the demonstration.

Speaking on the occasion, the protesters said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was performing a difficult task of publishing truth. He did this in the past and also showed determination to do so in the future. They said the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was illegal and called for his immediate release. They vowed to continue their protest against this illegal act as it is tantamount to an attack on freedom of press.

In Multan, the workers of Daily Jang, Geo News and The News continued their protest against the arrest of Jang/Geo Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

The office-bearers of the PML-N visited the protest camp and expressed solidarity with the Jang Group and demanded immediate release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. They alleged that the government was trying to squeeze free press in the country. Speaking on the occasion, senior politician Munir Langah alleged that the government was taking steps against political workers as well as journalists.

Munir Langah strongly condemned the government’s freezing advertisements payments policies to force the Jang Group to praise the government instead of exposing facts. He demanded release of pending bills of the Jang Group. He alleged that the government was deteriorating the free press environment. He said that Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman had been involved in a fake case.

The PML-N workers, including Haji Arshad Boota, Aslam Humayun, Sheikh Faisal Rahman, Nadeem Sapal, Masood Qureshi and Malik Muhammad Bakhsh also spoke.

In Peshawar, media workers of the Jang/Geo Group continued the protest against the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman as representatives of the teachers organisation visited the camp to express solidarity with journalists.

Carrying banners and placards inscribed with slogans in favour of the demands, the protesters urged the government to release Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and withdraw the cases against him. Speaking on the occasion, President, Primary Teachers Association, Azizullah Khan, condemned the government for arresting Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in a property case only to suppress the voice of his major media group in the country.

Appreciating positive role of the Jang Group, he said that Daily Jang, The News and Geo had always raised voice for the oppressed people and did not compromise over their rights. This, he said, was not acceptable to the rulers who wanted journalists to toe their line.

Accompanied by other office-bearers including Farah, Wahid Zaman Khattak, Naushad Ahmad and others, he demanded immediate release of Mir Shakil and quashing of cases against him. Resident Editor of Daily Jang, Arshad Aziz Malik, said the government had arrested Mir Shakil in a 34 years old property case only to strangulate the voice of the Jang Group but hoped they would not succeed in the mission.

He said the anti-people and anti-workers policies of the government were creating problems for the workers who had been going without salaries for the last several months.