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May 27, 2020

Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman detention: Protest continues despite Eid holidays, hot weather

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May 27, 2020

LAHORE/KARACHI: The protest against illegal detention of Jang/Geo Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman continued despite Eid holidays and sizzling heat in the city.

Protestors expressed their resolve to fight for the cause of press freedom at any cost.

Prominent personalities belonging to various walks of life, civil society members, journalist community and workers of Jang Group zealously participated in the protest that entered the third month last week.

They were part of the protest on first, second and third day of Eid holidays, which were organised at Davis Road in front of the Jang building.

Those who participated in the protest camp to express solidarity with the Jang Group employees included Shaheen Qureshi, Group Editor Jang Group, civil society leader Abdullah Malik, Muhammad Farooq, Secretary Jang Workers Union, Babar Wasim, former secretary, members of Pakistan Inqilab Party, Khizar Hayat Gondal, Anjum Zaheer, Awais Qarni, Afzal Abbas Sheikh and other staff of the Jang Group.

They demanded immediate release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

They said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s dictatorial policies were aimed at suppressing the freedom of expression, which had already resulted in economic murder of the media workers at large scale. They said that illegal detention of Jang/Geo Editor-in-Chief was an attack on free press. “We have always stood for the media freedom and no restrictions on the media would be tolerated in civil society,” they added.

The protestors said the purpose of such coercive policies against the media was aimed at suppressing the voice of truth and integrity. Such attempts were bound to fail as resistance against anti-press tactics had gained momentum, they said. They vowed to continue their struggle till the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

In Karachi, the Jang Geo Action Committee held a protest demonstration on the first day of Eid to demand immediate release of Jang Geo editor-in-chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and denounce the federal government’s vindictive campaign against independent media.Speaking to the demonstration outside the Jang Geo offices, Jamaat-e-Islami leader Dr Meraj-ul-Huda Siddiqui said that so-called proponents of media freedom turn into the draconian rulers when they make the government. Siddiqui said that the Mir family has a history of promoting journalism and they never broke a law. He added that when Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was regularly showing up and contesting the charges against him, his sudden arrest leaves many questions. He said that in a time when the government should have invested energy and resources in uniting people and chalking out a plan to pass through these coronavirus crisis, it started attacking politicians, doctors and media.

He warned the government from venting its vengeance on Jang Geo Group and said that this group has a long history of promoting truthful journalism and is deemed to be following an independent editorial policy. He said that JI stood with the employees of the group in their struggle.

Others who spoke to the demonstration included Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz leader Iqbal Khaksar, All Pakistan Newspapers Employees Confederation secretary general Shakil Yamin Kanga, APNEC secretary information Fawad Mahmud, The News Union general secretary Dara Zafar and Javed Press Union general secretary Rana Yusuf.