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August 1, 2020

Protest against illegal arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman continues

Top Story

August 1, 2020

Lahore: Jang/Geo Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman is behind the bars for the 140 days in a 34-year-old property case while Jang, The News and Geo workers have been protesting relentlessly in hot weather for his immediate release.

The daily protest demonstration is held outside the Jang Offices at the appointed time despite the pandemic and bad weather. The Jang Group workers wowed to continue their protest on the first, second and third day of Eidul Azha for the release of their editor-in-chief. They said nothing could stop them from their just demand.

Jang’s Group Editor Shaheen Qureshi warned that Pakistan’s name will recede in the Black List from Grey List of FATF if the government does not stop its regressive policy against media.

“Pakistan is gung mahal (an abode of deaf and dumb) at present. The courts are quiet. The forces that have kept Mir Shakil-ur- Rahman under lock-up are trying to pull down media, the fourth pillar of democracy,” he said, adding, in the past slogans were shouted against dictators where they were called by name of an animal. “It is difficult to bracket even an animal with Imran Khan. He has brought us to a point that the workers are not getting paid on time,” he added.

The government has problems with Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman having 54 kanals property while the premier lives in a house on 300 kanals in Bani Gala. “I contest the apex court’s decision where it has given a clean chit to the premier,” Qureshi said, adding, “It’s a government where mafias thrive such as the petroleum mafia.”

The workers shouted slogans for release of Mir Shakil-ur- Rahman, free media and payment of dues. The protesters included Kamal Azeem, Asim Hussain, Munawwar, Zaheer Anjum, Sher Ali Khalti, Muhammad Shafiq, Rubina Nazir Chohan, Khizer Hayat Gondal, Awais Qarni, Shahab Ansari, Munir Khokhar, Shahid, Arif, Muhammad Naeem, Muhammad Farooq, Ahmad, Muhammad Ali, Muhammad Wajid, Babar, Muhammad Bilal and Afzal Abbas.

In Peshawar, The media workers continued the protest against the arrest of Jang/Geo Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman on Friday and called for his release forthwith.

The protesting journalists from Daily Jang, The News and Geo carried banners and placards inscribed with slogans which spotlighted the demands. Among the speakers were Daily Jang Resident Editor Arshad Aziz Malik, Shakeel Farman Ali, Imdad Ali Qazalbash, Shah Zaman, Farmanullah Jan and others. They termed the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman illegal, unconstitutional and an attack on the independent media. The speakers flayed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government and National Accountability Bureau (NAB and said both were victimizing the head of the largest media group of the country by detaining its owner. They said the NAB had no right to arrest a person in a three-decades-old property case, adding Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was arrested because NAB had become a tool in the hands of the PTI govt. The protesters said the rulers were following an anti-media policy which was troubling the media houses and the workers employed there.

They said different tactics were being employed to pressure the Jang Media Group such as stopping advertisements and disrupting the Geo TV transmission which was a grave injustice. The speakers said the government should have conducted accountability of those involved in mega corruption scandals but that was not done and it had gone after the free media. The protesting journalists requested the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan to take suo motu notice of the case to provide justice to Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman who headed a media house which had always promoted independent journalism.