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May 28, 2020

Arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman: Jang/Geo workers appeal to CJ, LHC CJ to take notice

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May 28, 2020

RAWALPINDI: The workers of the Geo and Jang Group along with the representatives of the journalist organisations, representative of civil society, political workers and human rights activists Wednesday appealed the Chief Justice of Pakistan and Lahore High Court (LHC) chief justice (CJ) to take notice of illegal dentation of Jang/Geo Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman for last 77 days without any charge.

They termed the illegal detention of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman for last 77 days without any charge violation of human rights.

The countrywide protest of Jang/Geo Group workers of entered 77th day on Wednesday against the illegal arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and chanted slogans holding placards inscribed with demand for the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman as they condemned the curbs on the freedom of media.

Addressing the protesters outside the offices of Jang and The News at Murree Road in Rawalpindi, the speakers called for release of Jang/Geo Group Editor-in-Chief and vowed to continue their protest till his release.

Secretary General Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists Nasir Zaidi said the journalists of the country will continue their struggle for the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, who has been under illegal arrest for last 77 days without any charge.

He said this struggle not for any owner of the media group but for Jang/Geo Group Editor-in-Chief and for the freedom of media. Chairman Jang Editorial Committee, Rawalpindi Hanif Khalid said that the workers of the Geo and Jang Group were determined to sit on roads till the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

Chief Reporter Jang Rawalpindi Rana Ghulam Qadir said Jang/Geo Group Editor-in-Chief has raised flag of freedom of media in the country and the journalist community who believes in the freedom of media stood with him.

Secretary General RIUJ and senior correspondent of Geo News Asif Ali Bhatti said the struggle for the freedom of media will continue.

He said the struggle of the media is also for the rights of those journalists who are opposing the freedom of media just for the sake of the government. He said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman has been in illegal detention for the last 77 days but did not make any compromise on his principles.

Chairman Joint Action Committee and President Jang Workers Union Nasir Chisti said real purpose to arrest Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in fake and fabricated case is just to bring the Geo and Jang group under pressure.

Former president PFUJ Afzal Butt said the eyes of the journalists of the country set to the superior judiciary of the country for justice.

The protest camp was also addressed by Member Editorial Committee Rawalpindi Abbass Alam, and media workers of Jang Group Amjad Ali Abbasi, Syed Munir Shah, Najum Usmani, Imtiaz Taji of the PML-N and others.

In Lahore, protests against the illegal arrest of Jang/Geo Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman organised by the workers of The News, Jang and Geo continued Wednesday outside the Jang building on Davis Road.

The protesters criticised the government and said the rulers were trying to suppress the voice of the independent media by arresting editor-in-chief of the biggest media group.

They condemned MSR’s arrest in a 34-year-old property case and reiterated that the workers of the Jang/Geo Group would continue to protest till his release. The protesters demanded immediate release of editor-in-chief and withdrawal of cases against him.

Jang’s chief reporter Maqsood Butt said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman would never compromise as he is a brave journalist. He will never bow before anyone. He said illegal detention of Jang/Geo editor-in-chief was an attack on freedom of press. He demanded early release of the editor-in-chief.

Jang’s Group Editor Shaheen Qureshi said the incumbent government was following in the footsteps of dictators by curbing voices of media persons. He said the anti-media policies of the rulers had pushed thousands of media workers towards starvation. He demanded the government to pay dues of all media groups so that salaries could be paid to the media workers.

Rising Youth Organisation chief Atiqur Rehman said Jang/Geo Group was a voice of the voiceless. It cannot be suppressed by such tactics. Abdullah Malik member of civil society said arrest of editor-in-chief was a clear violation of the human rights and country’s Constitution. He said the message has been conveyed with the arrest of MSR that whoever will show the real face of the rulers will be sent to jail. Sher Ali Khalti, Zahid Ali Khan, Khizar Hayat Gondal, Zaheer Anjum, Muhammad Ali and Afzal Abbas also participated in the protest.

In Peshawar, the workers of the Jang Media Group on Wednesday continued their protest against the arrest of their Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. Carrying banners and placards inscribed with slogans in favour of their demands, the protesters asked the government to release Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and withdraw the cases against him.

The protesters criticised the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for victimizing opponents and suppress the voice of the independent media. Speaking on the occasion, Jang Resident Editor, Arshad Aziz Malik, and senior journalist, Shakeel Farman Ali, recalled that Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman had been detained in a 34-year-old property case without any solid evidence. They asked the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan to take notice of the issue and provide justice to Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. The protesters demanded the immediate release of the Jang Media Group chief and withdrawal of cases against him or else they would prolong the protest movement. They criticized the rulers for using the NAB to strangulate the voice of the independent media but hoped they would not succeed in these efforts. The protesters recalled that such efforts had been made in the past as well but the journalists and the media owners stood their grounds against these tactics.

In Multan, the workers of Daily Jang, Geo News, The News and different politicians on Wednesday staged a demonstration against the arrest of Jang/Geo Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and demanded his immediate release.

The protestors carrying placards and banners chanted slogans against the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. The PPP leaders led by the party’s divisional president Khalid Hanif Lodhi, PPP ticket-holder from PP-213 Shahid Raza Siddiqui and others also participated in the protest. They strongly condemned the arrest of Jang/Geo Group Editor-in- Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and demanded his immediate release.

The PPP leaders criticised the government and alleged that the rulers had failed to provide relief to the common man.

They also criticised the government’s policies and blamed that the government had failed to deliver. They said that the government had failed to control price-hike, which was making the lives of the people miserable. They alleged that the government was trying to control media through its policies. The government wanted to impose unannounced censorship on the media and only pro-government journalism was allowed in the country, they alleged. The PPP leaders alleged that the government after failing to develop a national consensus against corona had started targeting free media.

The entire world’s media was criticising the government actions, they added. PML-N leader Malik Anwar also condemned the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and alleged that the government was trying to crush free media. He demanded immediate release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.