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May 29, 2020

Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’s arrest: Jang/Geo workers protest goes on

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May 29, 2020

RAWALPINDI: The workers of Geo and Jang Group along with the journalist organisations, Pakistan Federal Unions of Journalists (PFUJ), civil society and political workers continued their protest on Thursday against the illegal arrest of Jang/Geo Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, who had been under detention for last 78 days without any charge.

The countrywide protest of workers of Geo and Jang Group entered 78th day on Thursday as they chanted slogans for the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and 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 Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and vowed to continue their protest till his release.

PFUJ Secretary General Nasir Zaidi said that the struggle of the journalists and media workers continued not only on roads but also in the courts and hoped for getting justice from the courts.

Chairman Editorial committee of Jang Rawalpindi Hanif Khalid said the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman is conspiracy against the freedom of media.

Chairman Joint Action Committee and President Jang Workers Union Nasir Chisti said that Jang/Geo Editor-in-Chief stood firm on his principled stance for the freedom of press even in jail while the workers of the Geo and Jang group continue their struggle for the cause of the freedom of media and release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman with high morale at the protest camps. “We will continue our struggle till the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman from fake and fabricated case,” he said.

Chief Reporter Jang Rawalpindi Rana Ghulam Qadir said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman has raised the flag of freedom of media.

RIUJ Secretary General and senior correspondent of the Geo News Asif Ali Bhatti said everyone knows that Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was arrested in fake and fabricated case. “All the journalist organisations including PFUJ and RIUJ stood with Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

Magazine Editor Jang Rawalpindi Farooq Aqdas said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman stood firm on his principled stance without bowing down.

Media workers Amjad Abbasi and Munir Shah while speaking at the protest camp said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman will be released soon.

In Lahore, the employees of Jang/Geo Group and journalists of different media houses continued protest Thursday against the illegal arrest of Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman outside the group’s office on Davis Road.

Carrying banners and placards inscribed with slogans for the release of editor-in-chief, the protesters said government can’t curb freedom of the press through nefarious designs.

They demanded the government to release Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and immediately withdraw all kinds of cases against him. They criticised the PTI government for using the NAB to victimise media. They said the Jang Group is being targeted for telling the truth and showing the true picture of the government.

They shouted slogans against the Govt-NAB nexus, saying it was not acceptable to them. The protesters recalled that Jang/Geo editor-in-chief represented the biggest media group of the country but had been behind bars for more than two months now without any solid evidence.

The protest was led by Jang’s Group Editor Shaheen Qureshi while Zaheer Anjum, Khizar Hayat Gondal, Zahid Ali Khan, Owais Qarni, human rights activist Abdullah Malik, Aziz Sheikh, Shahid Aziz, Munawwar Hussain, Jang Workers Union secretary Muhammad Farooq, Babar Waseem, Afzal Abbas and others participated in the protest.

In Peshawar, the leaders of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) turned up at the camp to express solidarity with the Jang/Geo Group on Thursday as the workers continued the protest against the arrest of their Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

Carrying banner and placards inscribed with slogans in favour of their demands, the protesters urged the government to release Mir Shakil and take back the cases instituted against him in bid to pressure the biggest media group of the country.

The JUI-F leaders, who visited the protest camp, included Arbab Mohammad Farooq Jan, Maulana Habibur Rahman, Mohammad Idrees and others. Speaking on the occasion, Arbab Muhammad Farooq Jan criticised the government and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for arresting Mir Shakil in an old property case and detaining him for the last 76 days without presenting any proof against him.

They said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government wanted to suppress voice of the independent media and political rivals through such tactics. They hoped these ploys would not succeed. The speakers said the government and NAB were silent over the alleged mega corruption scandals but had turned against the opposition and the media.

In Karachi, the Jang-Geo Action Committee continued their protest on Thursday against the detention of Jang Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, as lawyers, trade unionists, politicians and the civil society activists joined them and demanded immediate release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

Addresing the participants of the protest camp, Supreme Court Bar Association member Advocate Sathi Ishaq said that the government wanted to keep Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman entangled in legal matters to seek its control on the Jang-Geo Group and its narrative on its broadcast and publications.

He said that even after 78 days incarceration, the government has not brought up charges against Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman nor there are any against him. He said that the Jang-Geo Editor-in-Chief was being punished only for employing an independent editorial policy to promote the truth.

He on behalf of the lawyers’ community urged the chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) to take notice of the government’s wrongdoings and conduct an independent inquiry into the allegations against Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

The All Pakistan Newspapers Employees Confederation secretary general Shakil Yamin Kanga said that since this government has come into power, the media industry has been facing crisis due to which the media workers have been facing unemployment, future insecurity and non-payment of wages.

He also urged the CJP to take a suo-moto notice on the situation of the media industry. He added that contrary to the claim of the government to provides million of jobs, millions were losing jobs in the country because of its corruption and incompetence.

Others who spoke included Association of Camera Journalists general secretary Farhan Ilyas, Javed Press Union general secretary Rana Yusuf, The News Employees Union president Saeed Muhiuddin Pasha and general secretary Dara Zafar.