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July 24, 2020

Illegal arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman slammed

Top Story

 
July 24, 2020

RAWALPINDI/LAHORE/KARACHI/ PESHAWAR/MULTAN/ : The countrywide protest of the workers of Geo-Jang Group against the illegal and unjustified detention of Editor-in-Chief of the group, Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, continued on Thursday.

The protest, including representatives of journalist organizations, representatives of civil society and political workers, has been continuing for the last 132 days outside the Jang Building in Rawalpindi. The workers are demanding the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and protesting the restrictions on the freedom of media.

The demonstration was participated by Chairman Joint Action Committee of workers of Geo-Jang Group and President Jang Workers Union Nasir Chisti, Chairman Editorial Committee Jang Rawalpindi Hanif Khalid, Chief Reporter Jang Rawalpindi Rana Ghulam Qadir, Secretary General RIUJ Asif Ali Bhatti, Ms Rubina Shaheen, Laeq Shaukat, Munir Shah, Amjad Ali Abbassi, Malik Nusrat besides workers of Jang and The News.

LAHORE: Senior journalists, civil society leaders, office-bearers of media unions and trade union of Jang Group have condemned what they called the NAB-Niazi nexus under which they had detained Jang-Geo Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in a politically-motivated case for the last 132 days without any progress.

They were protesting outside the Jang offices on Thursday at the protest strike camp of the workers of Geo, Jang and The News for the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. They lamented that those claiming to make Pakistan a Madina-like State have incarcerated Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman just for victimisation despite that there was no progress either in the investigations into the 34 years old property exchange charges against him nor any formal case registered.

They demanded the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take a suo motu notice for illegally detaining Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, which was a direct attack on the freedom of expression and liberty of media. They vowed to continue the struggle till Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’s release. They threatened to launch anti-government movement across the country if he was not released.

Those who joined the protest camp included Jang’s Group Editor Shaheen Qureshi, Jang Workers Union Secretary General Farooq Malik, Pakistan Times News Editor Zaheer Anjum, The News deputy chief reporter Asim Hussain, Amir Taimur Malik, Awais Qarni, Sher Ali Khalti, Amjad Farooq Kallu, Muhammad Shafiq, Riaz Hussain, Sohail Iqbal, Aziz Sheikh, Shahid Aziz, Munawwar Hussain, Muhammad Naeem, M. Nawaz, Muhammad Wajed, Wahab Khanzada, Akmal Bhatti, Hafiz Asad, Mohammad Ali and Afzal Abbas.

Shaheen Qureshi termed the PTI government fascist and the worst kind of authoritarian regime that was bent upon gagging the voice of an independent media to prevent its own corruption and maladministration from reaching public. He said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was the first casualty in PTI government’s stifling media policy, while other owners of the media houses were the next target.

Zaheer Anjum said the media cannot work for the truth without freedom, as it played the role of watchdog for the society and country. He noted that such victimisation was forced by dictators like Gen Ayub Khan, Gen Zia, Gen Pervez Musharraf, in the past, and now media workers were being victimised by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

KARACHI: Member National Assembly Abdul Aziz Memon on Thursday said that Imran Khan’s cruel politics will end soon and the upcoming age will not forgive him for his excesses with the media. He also condemned the four-month-long incarceration of its Editor-in-Chief Jang-Geo Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman over a case fabricated by the govt-NAB nexus to harass the independent media and demanded his immediate release.

Memon on Thursday visited the protest camp organized by the Jang-Geo Joint Action Committee outside the Jang Building in Azadi Street to demand the government to release Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. Memon, who is also the former president of Banking Federation, said that he has learnt politics from Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who did not make problems with the media. “But people like Imran Khan, who always sing the songs of democracy, have initiated a crackdown on the media.”

The All Pakistan Newspapers Employees Confederation's secretary-general Shakil Yamin Kanga said the NAB, due to its discriminatory actions and becoming an instrument of government's witch-hunting, should be abolished by the Supreme Court. He stressed on unification of the media industry to survive in the difficult times. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s leader Iqbal Khaksar said that the Jang Group is Pakistan’s most reputable and trusted media group and people trust their news. “PML-N workers will participate in the protest camp on the daily basis until Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman has been released,” he said. The News Employees Union's president general secretary Dara Zafar said that Matiullah Jan is a brave journalist who was picked up in Islamabad and released only after a strong countrywide protest from the media bodies across the country. Javed Press Union's general secretary Rana Yusuf also spoke to the participants of the camp and called for early release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

PESHAWAR: The workers of the Jang-Geo media group on Thursday continued the protest against the detention of their Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

They were carrying banners and placards inscribed with slogans to highlight their demands. The protesters demanded the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and withdrawal of cases against him who had been under detention for the last 134 days. The speakers, including senior journalists Arshad Aziz Malik, Shakeel Farman Ali, Imdad Ali Qazalbash and others, recalled that the owner of the largest media group of the country had been arrested in a 34-year-old property case despite the fact that there was no wrongdoing in the deal. They severely criticized the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and National Accountability (NAB) for being in league with each other and illegally detaining Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. The protesters said the rulers wanted to suppress the voice of the independent media and opposition. They observed that the rulers had left behind even military dictators in the anti-media policy and violated all the norms. Terming the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman as illegal and unconstitutional, they said the media could not be gagged through such cheap tactics. They said the media workers had never accepted illegal acts of the rulers in the past and would not do so, neither now nor in future. The speakers had been requesting the chief justice Supreme Court of Pakistan to take notice of the ongoing injustices with Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

MULTAN: Workers of Jang, Geo and The News, along with civil society activists, staged a demonstration against the illegal detention of Jang-Geo Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and demanded his immediate release.

The protesters condemned the National Accountability Bureau for conducting biased and politically-motivated trials. The NAB was used as a tool against the Jang-Geo Group to stop its publications and transmission, they added.

They said that Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’s arrest was followed by disruption of Geo transmission within minutes of a press conference by ex-Special Assistant to PM Firdous Ashiq Awan who, on the one hand, tried to distance her government from the arrest and on the other hand, accused Jang-Geo Group of being biased against the government. The protesters predicted that the government would adopt measures to impose curbs on social media through new regulations.

The group workers and civil society activists who spoke included Zafar Aheer, Nadeem Shah, Shahadat Hussain, Nisar Awan, Chaudhry Masood, Ehtesham Baig, Arif Akhtar Zaidi and Tariq Bhutta.