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July 14, 2020

Protest for Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman's release continues

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July 14, 2020

RAWALPINDI/LAHORE/PESHAWAR : The journalists and workers of Geo and Jang Group, along with journalist organizations, representatives of civil society and political workers, on Monday continued their peaceful protest against the illegal and unjustified arrest of Editor-in-Chief of the group, Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, and demanded his immediate release saying that his arrest was only made to bring the country’s media under chains.

The countrywide protest of journalists and workers of the Geo and Jang Group has been continuing for the last 122 days and they have vowed they will continue the protest till the release of Editor-in-Chief of Geo and Jang Group, Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

Addressing the protest outside the Jang Building in Rawalpindi, Secretary General Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) Nasir Zaidi said that Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman has now become the vioice of the freedom of media and human rights in the country. “All the journalists and media workers stand with Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman for the cause of freedom of media in the country,” he said. He said the Geo and Jang Group is a vocal voice for the freedom of media in the country and one be allowed to raise voice for the freedom of the media in the country. “The workers of Geo and Jang Group stand united for the release of Editor-in-Chief of Geo and Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman despite all odds,” he said.

Chairman Editorial Committee of Jang Rawalpindi Hanif Khalid said the workers of Geo and Jang Group have faith in justice for Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. He was confident that Mir Shakil will be released soon.

Secretary General RIUJ and Senior Correspondent of Geo News Asif Ali Bhatti said Mir Shakil refused to make any compromise on his principles on the freedom of media despite all the victimization by the rulers. He said the morale of Shakil-ur-Rahman was high despite being illegally behind the bars for the last four months.

Journalist Ms Rubina Shaheen said the journalists will continue to raise their voice for the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. She said arresting the Editor-in-Chief of Geo and Jang Group was only meant to put the media into chains.

Laiq Shaukat said the workers of Geo and Jang Group stood with Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. PML-N leader of Rawalpindi Imtiaz Taji said the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman proved the NAB-Niazi nexus. Media worker of Jang Group Amjad Abbassi condemned involving the family of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in the fake and fabricated case. Another media worker of Jang Group Munir Shah said the rulers were doing the politics of victimization and the case against Mir Shakil was such an example. Later, the workers of Geo and Jang Group chanted slogans by raising placards for the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

LAHORE: A protest against the illegal arrest of Jang-Geo Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was staged on Monday on the Davis Road. The participants included Jang’s Group Editor Shaheen Qureshi, Jang’s chief reporter Maqsood Butt, intellectual and writer Azhar Munir, Jang Workers’ Union Secretary Muhammad Farooq, senior journalists Zaheer Anjum, Shafiq Ahmed, Awais Qarni, Muhammad Ali, Wahab Khanzada and Afzal Abbas besides a number of Jang, The News and Geo employees and people from various walks of life.

Azhar Munir has also set up a protest camp on the footpath opposite the Lahore Press Club to create an awareness about Editor-in-Chief’s unlawful detention. The speakers said media freedom could not be surrendered the way a fascist group ruling the country wished for. They said the PTI government was trying to gag the voice of democracy. They said the detention of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman represented an attack on the freedom of expression. They said the Editor-in-Chief had always stood for the freedoms and rights of the people of Pakistan. They said he had always upheld the truth.

They said battle lines were drawn today not between the Jang, The News and Geo and the State but between the 220 million people of Pakistan and a fascist government led by Imran Khan, adding the NAB-Niazi nexus would never prevail. They said the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was an attack on the freedom of the press, guaranteed by the Constitution.

They warned that such tactics could not succeed in removing Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman from the scene or scaring him away. The superior judiciary should take notice of the matter and see to it that the demands of justice were met. They said the struggle for Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’s release and acquittal would continue. The speakers said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman had now been behind bars for more than 120 days without justification. They warned that if he was not released soon, a ‘Long live the free press-down with Imran Khan’ campaign would be launched and protests would be staged in front of the provincial assembly.

In Peshawar, the Jang/Geo Group workers renewed the demand for the release of their Editor-in-Chief, Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, as they continued to protest his illegal detention.

The speakers recalled that Mir Shakil had been arrested despite the fact that he was cooperating with the NAB. Senior journalists, including Arshad Aziz Malik, Shakeel Farman Ali, Shah Zaman, Imdad Ali Qazalbash and others said the government should have conducted the accountability of those involved in the mega corruption scandals. They said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was being victimised to punish the Jang/Geo Media Group for reporting the truth and practising independent journalism. The speakers said the media would continue to perform its duty and highlight the truth and corruption of the rulers despite all such pressure tactics. They appealed to the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan to take notice of the situation and provide justice to the head of the major media group and its workers