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July 22, 2020

Protesters raise voice against illegal arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman

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July 22, 2020

RAWALPINDI: Journalists and workers of the Geo-Jang Group, while holding a protest against the illegal and unjustified arrest of Editor-in-Chief Geo-Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman on Tuesday, said a detailed judgment of the Supreme Court of Pakistan had validated their stance that victimization was being carried out.

“We are looking towards the Supreme Court of Pakistan for justice to Editor-in-Chief Geo-Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, who is in illegal and unjustified detention for the last 130 days,” said journalists and workers of Geo-Jang Group while continuing their protest, along with journalist organisations, representatives of civil society and political workers outside the Jang offices.

The protesters chanted slogans for the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. They also condemned the abduction of senior journalist Matiullah Jan in broad daylight from Islamabad. Addressing the protest in front of the Jang Building in Rawalpindi, Chairman Joint Action Committee and President Jang Workers Union Rawalpindi Nasir Chisti said the Supreme Court verdict had exposed the NAB. “The NAB should feel ashamed after the remarks of the Supreme Court of Pakistan,” he said. He said workers of Geo and Jang Group were now looking towards justice from the Supreme Court of Pakistan and hoped to get justice from there.

Chairman Editorial Committee Jang Rawalpindi Hanif Khalid said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman is a person who always struggled for the freedom of the media in the country. Magazine Editor Jang Rawalpindi Farooq Aqdas called for the release of Mir Shakil. He also condemned the abduction of senior journalist Matiullah Jan.

Chief Reporter Jang Rawalpindi Rana Ghulam Qadir said the workers of Geo-Jang Group were struggling for the greater cause of the freedom of media in the country. He said the fake and fabricated case against Editor-in-Chief Geo-Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was a cheap tactic of the government to control the media.

Secretary General RIUJ Asif Ali Bhatti said the struggle for the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and the freedom of the media in the country will continue.

He said the morale of workers is still high despite all odds and will not make a compromise on the matter of the freedom of the media in the country. PML-N leader of Rawalpindi Imtiaz Taji said the Supreme Court of Pakistan had exposed the face of NAB. He appealed to the Supreme Court to take notice of illegal and unjustified detention of Editor-in-Chief Geo-Jang Group.

The workers of Jang Group, Rubina Shaheen, Munir Shah, Amjad Ali Abbassi, Malik Nusrat and others, called for early release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

KARACHI: Senior lawyer Arshad Mehmood, while speaking against the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman on Tuesday, said that the detention of Mir Shakil was unwarranted and demanded the Supreme Court to ensure that justice prevails in the country. He said that the Jang-Geo Editor-in-Chief was arrested without an FIR or reference filed against him, which reflected the government’s desperate attempt to silence the voices that projected the truth.

The All Pakistan Newspapers Employees Confederation secretary general Shakil Yamin Kanga said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had sent a message to the people of the country, especially to media owners, that those who would not toe the government’s line will meet with arrest and detentions.

Former Karachi Union of Journalists president Fahim Siddiqui said that the government concocted a 34-year-old bogus private transaction matter against Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman because it could not find any dirt on him. He said that the arrest was an attempt to cripple the Jang-Geo Group. He also denounced the abduction of journalist Matiullah Jan from Islamabad.

Others who spoke to the demonstration included Democratic Workers Federation secretary general Liaquat Ali Shahi, The News Employees Union general secretary Dara Zafar and Javed Press Employees Union secretary general Rana Yusuf. The attendees included former MQM lawmakers Qamar Abbas, Faisal Rafiq, Jamal Ahmed and Kamran Farooqi. The demonstrators demanded the chief justice of Pakistan to take notice of this long and unjust detention of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and urged him to restore the sanctity of the law which has been flouted by the government.

Former federal minister Dr Farooq Sattar termed the arrest of Jang-Geo Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman an attack on the pillars of the state because it did not only affect independent journalism but also democracy, the law and the Constitution.

Earlier on Monday, speaking to the protest by the Jang Geo Action Committee, continuing for past 130 days, Sattar, who is the chief of Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan Organization Restoration Committee, said that a country-wide movement was unavoidable to fight the draconian curbs by the federal government on the media. He said the movement should be inclusive of all the stakeholders of the country as the government had failed to deliver and instead was using force to suppress dissent. He added that the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was a deep conspiracy through which the government wanted to control the media.

He said that the current government was the worst of all because public had never been in so distress as they were battling the uncontrolled inflation amid widespread unemployment spree. He said that everything was falling apart because of the government’s incompetency and unfriendly policies.

He said that the media industry was struggling to survive against the malicious campaign to punish those institutions which reflected the truth in their news and editorials and did not bow to the government’s pressure. He said that the attack on Jang-Geo Group was the official announcement of this campaign.

Referring to the services of Mir family in the field of journalism, he said that the government was repaying them back through this detention which was not only appalling but a sheer violation of the Article 19 of the Constitution. He said the Jang Group was here even before Pakistan and it introduced the country to the rest of the world. “We have marched for the independence of the judiciary and we could take out another march for the independence of media,” he said, “because the government seems to be on a spree to eliminate democracy from the country and wants to turn it into a totalitarian state.”

PESHAWAR: The media workers renewed the demand for the release of Jang-Geo Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman as they continued their protest against his arrest on Tuesday. They were carrying banners and placards inscribed with slogans in support of their demands. The protesters urged the government to release Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman without any delay and end the cases against him. They flayed the government and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for detaining Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in a 34-year-old property case without meeting all the legal formalities. The protesters deplored the role of NAB which, they said, had no authority to detain a citizen in a private property case. They said the NAB was doing all this on the directives of the rulers, who wanted to suppress the independent voice of media.

The speakers, including Daily Jang Peshawar Resident Editor Arshad Aziz Malik, Shakeel Farman Ali, Imdad Ali Qazalbash and others, said the government was pressurising the media to dismiss some journalists which was not acceptable to them. The speakers requested the chief justice of the Supreme Court to take notice of the ongoing injustices with Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman who was arrested even when the investigations were not over.