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June 27, 2020

Arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman: Jang-Geo workers continue to register strong protest

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June 27, 2020

RAWALPINDI: The workers and journalists of the Geo and Jang group registered their strong protest on Friday against the illegal arrest of Jang/Geo Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, who has been behind the bars for last 106 days in a case of 34-years old private business transaction.

The journalists and workers along with the journalist organizations, political workers and Federal Unions of Journalists continued their strong protest for last 106 days outside the offices of the Jang and The News at Murree Road in Rawalpindi as they called for his release.

Secretary General Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists Nasir Zaidi said the journalists have been struggling for the stability of democracy for the last 106 days. He said whenever the media is in chain, democracy cannot flourish in the country.

He said the rulers want to suppress the voice of the media house, which brings the truth before the people. “Free media is a voice of the people and Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman brought facts before the people, which rulers dislike,” he said.

Chairman Joint Action Committee of Workers of Geo and Jang Group Islamabad and President Jang Workers Union Rawalpindi Nasir Chisti said free media is must for the democracy and when the media is not free, democracy can also not flourish.

He said the movement of the workers for the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman will continue till his release. Chief Reporter Jang Rawalpindi Rana Ghulam Qadir said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was arrested on the fake and fabricated application of unknown person. “Though the name of ruling party is Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, there is no justice for the innocents,” he said.

Secretary General RIUJ and senior correspondent Geo News Asif Al Bhatti said Editor-in-Chief of Geo and Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman has firm belief in democracy and freedom of media and refused to make any compromises on his principled stance.

Media workers of Jang Group Muzaffar Bhatti, Munir Shah, Amjad Ali Abasi, and Malik Yousaf said all the journalists of Pakistan and international organisations of journalists, human rights activists and intellectuals are demanding release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

In Lahore, taking part in demonstration over the illegal arrest of Jang/Geo Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, civil society members, senior journalists, representatives of media and trade union bodies vehemently criticised what they call anti-media policies of the government.

They were speaking at a protest camp set up by the workers of Jang, Geo and The News employees on the call of Joint Action Committee and Jang Employees Union for the release of editor-in-chief outside the Jang Offices Friday.

Jang’s Group Editor Shaheen Qureshi, advocate Iftikhar Shahid, PPP leader Shahida Jabeen, Rehman Shahid, Zaheer Anjum, Amjad Farooq Kallu, Awais Qarni, Shahab Ansari, Sher Ali Khalti, Muhammad Farooq, Muhammad Shahid, Akmal Bhatti and other senior journalists lamented that Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in a politically-motivated case had been illegally imprisoned. They termed his detention an effort to curb media freedom in the country. Unfortunately, they observed there is no progress in investigation into an old property case against him. They termed such intimidating acts as a planned attack on press freedom which was aimed at gagging independent voices.

In Peshawar, the workers of Jang, Geo and The News continued to protest on the 105 consecutive day against the detention of their Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman here on Friday.

Holding banners and placards inscribed with slogans in favour of their demands and against the government, they sought the release Mir Shakil and withdraw the cases instituted against him. Condemning the government and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for detaining the head of the major media group in a 34 years old private property case, the speakers said Mir Shakil was arrested even without completing the investigation process. They vowed to continue the struggle until the acceptance of their demands, saying such cheap tactics had never pressured them in the past nor would these do so now.

Terming the arrest of Mir Shakil an attack on the independent press, the protesters criticised the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and NAB nexus for victimizing opponents and silencing the independent voice. The rulers should have held the accountability of those found involved in the mega corruption scandals such as Bus Rapid Transit, Malam Jabba and Billion Tree Project if they were really interested in accountability. The workers of Jang, Geo and The News demanded immediate release of their editor-in-chief and withdrawal of cases against him.

They said the ongoing illegal and injustices against Mir Shakil would force thousands of workers in their office to lead a difficult life.