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July 2, 2020

Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’s arrest: Workers vow to foil plots against Jang-Geo Group

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July 2, 2020

RAWALPINDI: The Geo and Jang Group workers Wednesday vowed to foil conspiracies against Jang/Geo Group while rejecting false and fabricated allegations against its Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

They also vowed to continue protest movement till the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, who has been in unlawful detention for the last 111 days. The Jang/Geo Group workers along with the journalist organisations, representatives of the civil society and labour organisations while protesting against the illegal arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman outside the Jang Building in Rawalpindi said that Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was struggling for the supremacy of the constitution and law of the land and refused to make any compromise on his ideology of freedom of media.

Secretary General Pakistan Federal Unions of Journalists Nasir Zaidi said this is darkest era for the media where anyone who bring the facts before the people has been sent to jail and Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman is an example of government treatment to media.

He said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman challenged those powerful who negates the freedom of media. He said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman will not only be released and will be a symbol of freedom of media. Chairman Joint Action Committee and President Workers Union Nasir Chisti said the cabinet ministers were conspiring against Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

“We tell them in clear words that the workers of Geo and Jang Group stood firm with him and will foil all the conspiracies against Geo and Jang Group,” he said. Chief Reporter Jang Rawalpindi Rana Ghulam Qadir said the workers of Geo and Jang Group have rejected the false and fabricated reference against Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. “Our movement will continue till the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman,” he said.

Secretary General RIUJ Asif Ali Bhatti said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman refused to make any compromise on his principles of freedom of media in the country.

Media workers of Jang Group Munir Shah, Malik Nusrat, Amjad Ali Abbasi, Kaleem Shaim and others called for release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. They said rulers will be failed in their attempts against the Geo and Jang Group as the workers of the Geo and Jang Group stood firm with Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

In Peshawar, the workers of Jang, Geo, The News continued protest against the arrest of their Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

Holding banners and placards inscribed with slogans in favour of their demands, the protesters demanded immediate release of Mir Shakil and withdrawal of cases against him. Chanting slogans against the government and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for implicating the editor of the major media group in a 34 years old private property case, the workers vowed to continue highlighting the truth.

Condemning the federal minister for tweeting against the editor of Jang Group, the speakers including Arshad Aziz Malik, Shakil Farman Ali, Sheeba Haidar, Imdad Ali Qazalbash and others said the minister’s tweet reflected mindset of the sitting rulers who were bent upon strangulating voice of the media. Coming down hard on the federal minister for ridiculing the media workers, they said the government and NAB could not prove a single case against Mir Shakil but detained him without registering the FIR against him.

They said it was the first case where an accused had been detained for more than 100 days without any proof and without even completing investigation. The sitting rulers, they said, first stopped government advertisements, asked the cable operators to place Geo down on the list of channels and withheld the payment to punish workers.

They vowed to continue struggle till the acceptance of their demands including release of Mir Shakil and withdrawal of cases against him. They complained that the authorities had adopted silence over their just demands and warned to expand protest movement if Mir Shakil was not released forthwith.

In Karachi, the Jang/Geo Action Committee rejected the bogus reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau against Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, calling it a failed attempt to cover up the truth.

The Karachi Union of Journalists former president and Geo Karachi Bureau chief Fahim Siddiqui said that the government now must prove the allegations which is an impossible task because the reference does not hold anything incriminating against Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

He said the journalist organizations and democracy groups across the world were denouncing the illegal detention of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and calling for his immediate release but the federal government was least bothered about the country’s image.

The News Employees Union General Secretary Dara Zafar said that the court proceedings for Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman were being deliberately delayed to cause him as much anguish as the government could bring upon him. He said that the case was witnessing adjournments only.

The All Pakistan Newspaper Employees Confederation secretary general Shakil Yamin Kanga said that it seemed that the court was being partial in the case by not listening to the defence by Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

Javed Press Employees Union general secretary Rana Yusuf said that Prime Minister Imran Khan must acknowledge that he will reap what he had been sowing. He said the government since coming into power had invested all the resources in its vengeful campaign against political rivals and independent media.

In Lahore, the protest against Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’s illegal arrest entered 111th day Wednesday and is growing bigger with more lawyers and activists joining the Jang, Geo, The News and Awaz employees in their demand for releasing their editor-in- chief.

The speakers, foremost among them lawyers, slammed the NAB chairman for becoming a stooge of the forces that are trying to maim democracy by stifling media, the voice of the people.

Advocate Raja Zulqarnain, advocate Iftikhar Shahid and advocate Khalid Baig said the NAB is flouting its own rule. By not following due process of law, the anti-graft body has lost its credibility. They termed Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’s arrest abduction for extortion. “It’s not just Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman under arrest; me and you are under arrest”.

They said the government is trying to stop media from voicing the truth when Article 19-A of the Constitution gives every citizen the right to have access to information in all matters of public importance.

They shouted slogans ‘long live Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’, ‘down with NAB and Imran Khan’ and ‘long live lawyers, journalists unity’. Activist Shahida Jabeen said if the government wants prosperity it should let the media work and free Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

Jang’s Group Editor Shaheen Qureshi, Maqsood Butt, Zaheer Anjum and union leader Farooq of Jang Group also spoke. “You can arrest a man but not his thoughts and aspirations. Media stands for truth and equity,” they said.