KARACHI/ LAHORE/ RAWALPINDI/ PESHAWAR: The workers of the Geo-Jang Group, along with media and journalist organisations, sections of civil society and trade unions, on Wednesday continued their four-month-long countrywide protests demanding easing of media liberties across the country and to protest against the persecution of the Group and of its Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur- Rahman.
In Karachi, denouncing the long and unjust detention of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, travel magnate Yahya Polani demanded the government to immediately release him and stop his victimization for upholding the truth. Mir Shakil was resisting government's strong arm tactics to subdue him to give up on an independent editorial policy.
Polani was speaking to the demonstration by the Jang-Geo Action Committee for the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. He said the editor-in-chief was a resident of this country and would not escape from here while his family were the pioneers of journalism in the country.
Referring to the Supreme Court’s decision about NAB in Khawaja Saad Rafiq case, he said the whole country was astonished to see how the National Accountability Bureau was acting as a government tool to defame and blackmail people. The Jang Karachi editorial chairman Mudasir Mirza said that the Jang-Geo Action Committee and the cross section of society will continue to protest until the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. Others who spoke at the demonstration included The News Employees Union general secretary Dara Zafar and Javed Press Employees Union general secretary Rana Yusuf.
Similarly in Peshawar, the workers of Jang Group termed Rahman’s arrest illegal, unconstitutional and an attack on the independent media. Carrying banners and placards inscribed with slogans, the protesters demanded the government to release the owner of the largest media group of the country. Speaking on the occasion, senior journalists including Arshad Aziz Malik, Shakeel Farman Ali, Imdad Ali Qazalbash and others said the media workers throughout the country are protesting for the release of their Editor-in-Chief. They severely criticized the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and National Accountability Bureau for detaining Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in a 34-year-old fabricated property case. The protesters likened the arrest to an attack on the independent media. They said the rulers could neither suppress the voice of the independent press nor opposition through such tactics.
In Rawalpindi, the workers of the Geo and Jang Group along with the journalist organizations held a demonstration in front of the Jang building and appealed to the superior judiciary to protect Mir Shakil from miscarriage of justice being meted out to him in a fabricated case.
The protest demonstration was participated by Chairman Joint Action Committee of workers of Geo and 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, PML-N leader of Rawalpindi Imtiaz Taji, Muzaffar Bhatti, Munir Shah, Amjad Ali Abbassi, Malik Nusrat besides workers of Jang and The News.
Addressing the protest, Chairman Joint Action Committee of workers of Geo and Jang Group and President Jang Workers Union Nasir Chisti said tyranny has replaced democracy in the country manifest by muzzling of the independent press and coercing political and personal rivals. He said Rahman's detention signals government's policy to silence the free voices of the media.
Chief Reporter Jang Rana Ghulam Qadir said NAB is being used as a tool for political engineering and media coercion and the Supreme Court's recent historic verdict has gone to prove just that. PML-N leader Imtiaz Taji appealed to the Supreme Court to take notice of illegal arrest of Editor-in-Chief of Geo and Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.
In Lahore, senior journalists, civil society leaders, office-bearers of media unions and Jang Workers Union continued their protest on Friday against the illegal and prolonged Rahman's arrest.
They regretted that those claiming to make Pakistan a Madina-like state have incarcerated Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman to victimise him despite lack of progress into the investigations of the 34-year-old property case.
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