LAHORE: A protest demonstration against unlawful detention of Geo/Jang Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was held at Davis Road on Sunday.
The protest participants condemned the detention and demanded immediate and honourable release of the Jang/Geo Editor-in-Chief.
Besides media workers and journalists from Geo, The News, Jang and Awaz newspapers, representatives of the media organisations participated in the demonstration, held outside the Geo/Jang offices.
Among others who participated in the protest and spoke on the occasion included Maqsood Butt, Tajammul Gurmani, Ameer Tairmur, Riaz Hussain, Jang Workers Union General Secretary Muhammad Farooq Awan, Awais Qarni and Zaheer Anjum.
The speakers said that Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was under unlawful detention for over 100 days now, which was a violation of basic human rights, the Constitution of Pakistan and laws of the land. They said his arrest was, in fact, an attempt to suppress the media freedom in Pakistan.
The demonstrators, while chanting slogans, strongly criticised those at the helm over their anti-media and anti-workers policies. They said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was under detention for raising voice for true democracy and media freedom in the country.
The demonstrators also said that Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was under detention in a politically motivated case without any progress. They demanded withdrawal of the case against him and his immediate and honourable release. The demonstrators also demanded the government to clear pending payments of media organisations.
In Peshawar, the workers of the Jang/Geo Group continued the protest against the arrest of their Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman here on Sunday.
They were holding banners and carrying placards inscribed with slogans in favour of their demands. They chanted slogans against the government and the National Accountability Bureau for detaining Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman without proving any case of corruption in a 34 years old property case. The speakers including Arshad Aziz Malik, Shakeel Farman, Shah Zaman, Amjad Safi and others lamented that the head of the largest media group of the country was being targeted to silence the free press.
Reiterating the commitment to continue struggle till the acceptance of their demands, they recalled their sacrifices for the freedom of expression and independent media in the past and vowed to brave all pressures. They said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf claimed to be champion of reforms and change, but was using a national institution to victimize opponents and silence independent voices. The protesters said the rulers should have made accountable those responsible for the mega corruption scandals had they been really interested in the accountability process but that was never done.
Meanwhile, prominent showbiz personality and former Member National Assembly Khushbakht Shujaat on Sunday condemned the illegal arrest of Jang/Geo Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, who has been under detention for the past 109 days without any charge. She said that the Jang Group has been a source of knowledge and wisdom for several generations in the country but unfortunately, instead of respecting the institutions, the current rulers have been making conspiracies to destroy it as revenge.
“I fully condemn the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in a 34-year-old private property case and term it as negative thinking of the incumbent government,” she said.
She said that first, the late Mir Khalil-ur Rahman and then his sons Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and late Mir Javed-ur-Rahman, expanded the media institutions and promoted independence and brave journalism in the country.
Shujaat said that after the dictators, now champions of democracy have been pressurising the Jang group. “For most of Pakistanis, Jang is now part of the family because it has been coming to their houses since the independence of the country,” the former MNA said. She said that everyone knows that Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was arrested in a fake and fabricated case. “I am confident that such attempts are bound to fail and independence of the media would continue to prevail in future too.”
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