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August 10, 2020

Protest against Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’s detention goes on

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August 10, 2020

LAHORE: Workers of The News, Jang and Geo continued their protest Sunday against unlawful detention of Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman by the NAB.

The protesters maintained their basic stand in their speeches and while condemning the illegal detention of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, appealed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take notice of the injustice. Those who spoke on the occasion included senior journalists Ameen Hafeez, Shahab Ansari, Jang Workers Union Secretary Muhammad Farooq and others.

Munawar Hussain, Khizer Hayat Gondal, Muhammad Shafiq, Wahab Khanzada, Abbas, Wajid, Majid, Afzal Abbas Shah, Aziz Sheikh, Muhammad Ali, Ziaur Rehman, Muhammad Shahid and others participated in the protest. They chanted slogans against the NAB, Imran Khan and the NAB-Niazi nexus and demanded early release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

In Peshawar, the journalist community members flayed the government for victimizing the Jang Media Group Editor-in-Chief, Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, and reiterated the demand for his release as they continued the protest against his arrest on Sunday.

The protesting journalists gathered at the offices of the Daily Jang, The News and Geo TV to register their anger. They had banners and placards in their hands which had been inscribed with slogans and demands.

The protesters called for the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman as he headed the largest media group of the country, who had been under detention since March 12 of this year. Daily Jang Resident Editor Arshad Aziz Malik, Shakeel Farman Ali, Shah Zaman, Qaisar Khan, Gulzar Khan and others spoke on the occasion. They flayed the government for victimizing Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman for the independent policy of his Jang Media Group. The speakers said the Jang Group was being punished for promoting independent journalism. They said the arrest of the Jang Media Group chief was illegal, unconstitutional and an attack on the free media.

The speakers were critical of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government and National Accountability Bureau (NAB for targetting the largest media group of Pakistan.

They said the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman by the NAB in a 34-year-old property case was questionable and a clear case of arm-twisting. The speakers said the PTI government was after the independent media which had affected the media houses and a large number of journalists who were linked to the profession. They said the government should have conducted the accountability of those involved in the massive corruption scandals but that was never done and instead it was pressuring the independent media.

The protesting journalists requested the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan to take notice of the case and provide justice to Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman who represented the free media.

In Mingora, Criticising the arrest of Jang/Geo Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, Pakistan People's Party (PPP) leader and Member National Assembly Syed Agha Rafiullah on Sunday said that the government's move was aimed at putting pressure on free media practices in the country. Addressing a "Meet-the-Press" programme at the Swat Press Club, the PPP lawmaker said that the PTI-led federal government had failed to fulfil its promises, which it had made during its election campaign in 2018.

PPP Swat president Irfan Hayat Chattan and other party activists were also present on the occasion. "The government arrested the Editor-in-Chief of Jang group Mir Shakeel-Ur-Rahman to silence anti-government voice in media," he added.

He said that instead of promoting legislative norms in the parliament, the PTI government had been encouraging abusive language in the house, adding that PPP believed in constitutional roles of each institution in the country. The MNA, belonging to Sindh province, said that the leadership of PTI did not believe in the norms of democracy as Prime Minister Imran Khan was acting like a dictator.

Agha Rafiullah urged the public to support the pro-democratic voices in the country for the greater interest of the state and the nation. "The country's affairs are nowadays being controlled by a class that has always harmed democracy," he added.

The PPP leader also questioned the so-called accountability process in the country. "The National Accountability Bureau is being used as a tool to victimise the opposition leaders," he said, adding, corruption had increased during the PTI government but no action was being taken against the people concerned.

Agha Rafiullah said the government had failed on all fronts. "The PTI leaders have failed to come up to the expectations," he added.

In Kasur, PPP Lahore Division Information Secretary Asif Ali Khokar has condemned the arrest of Jang/Geo Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and demanded his immediate release.Addressing a press conference here on Sunday, the PPP leader said that the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was unjustified and illegal. He also criticised the government policies Later, a rally was taken out in which participants demanded immediate release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.