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July 29, 2020

Protest against unjust detention of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman: Demonstrators slam absolute intolerance for media

Top Story

 
July 29, 2020

KARACHI/LAHORE/PESHAWAR/RAWALPINDI: Demonstrations for ceasing the clampdown on the free and independent press, crackdown against the Jang-Geo Group and the unjust detention of its Editor-In-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in fabricated cases once again brought on Tuesday various journalist and media organisations, trade unions, sections of the civil society in solidarity with the Group's workers.

Carrying placards and raising demands for Rahman's unconditional release across the country, they critcised the government for reinforcing absolute intolerance for criticism by the media. In Karachi, trade union leader Nasir Mansoor remarked that a momentous campaign was inevitable for the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman as the people are becoming fed up with the government. Mansoor, who is the general secretary of the National Trade Union Federation, while speaking to the protest demonstration by the Jang-Geo Action Committee, said that this government of foreign nationals is the mutual enemy of all the workers of the country, be it peasants or journalists. He said the entire PTI leadership will escape after bankrupting Pakistan as it is evident from its two years' performance.

The All Pakistan Newspapers Employees Confederation’s secretary general Shakil Yamin Kanga said that it has been 135 days since Mir Shakil has been languishing in jail for not subscribing to the government's micromanagement of its editorial policies. The News Employees Union’s general secretary Dara Zafar and Javed Press Employees Union’s general secretary Rana Yusuf also spoke on the occasion.

In Lahore, the journalists and workers of Jang, Geo, The News continued protest against the illegal arrest of their Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and demanded his immediate release. The protesters criticised the government and NAB for implicating the Group's editor-in-chief in a private 34-year-old private property case. They said the government and NAB are trying to blackmail media owners to keep their eyes and ears shut to stagflation, unemployment, commodity shortages and corruption by cabinet members. The protest was led by Jang’s Group Editor Shaheen Qureshi while Malik Zahoor Awan, Farooq Awan, Zaheer Anjum, Malik Muhammad Ali, Khizar Hayat Gondal, Awais Qarni, Muhammad Shafique and other employees of the Jang Group were present on the occasion.

Similarly in Peshawar, the media workers of the Jang Group came down hard on the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government and NAB for illegally detaining the head of the largest media group of the country. Terming the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman as illegal, unconstitutional and an attack on the media, the protesters said the government had left behind the dictators in its stifling of the independent media.

Addressing the demonstrators, the Pakistan People’s Party’s provincial council member, Abid Ali Shah, condemned the arrest of the Jang Group chief and demanded the resignation of the NAB chairman after accusing him of becoming a tool in the hands of the PTI. The PPP leader said the dictatorial policies of Prime Minister Imran Khan were not acceptable to his party. Senior journalists Arshad Aziz Malik, Shakeel Farman, Imdad Ali Qazalbash, Shah Zaman also spoke on the occasion.

In Rawalpindi the workers of Geo and Jang Group are holding the protest for the last 135 days.

The Tuesday's protest 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, Magazine Editor Farooq Aqdas, Chief Reporter Rana Ghulam Qadir, Secretary General RIUJ Asif Ali Bhatti, Ms Rubina Shaheen, Laeq Shaukat, Munir Shah, Amjad Ali Abbasi, Malik Nusrat and other workers of Jang and The News.

Addressing the protestors, the speakers appealed to Supreme Court to take the suo motu notice on the illegal act of the NAB. They said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was upholding the cause for the freedom of media and refused to make any compromise on the cause of freedom of speech in the country. They said the workers of the Geo and Jang group stood firm with their Editor-in-Chief. They said the struggle for the freedom of media and freedom of expression will continue till its achievement.