Monday May 16, 2022

Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’s arrest blatant attack on press freedom

By Our Correspondent
September 13, 2020

LAHORE/PESHAWAR: Journalists, civil society members and office-bearers of the Jang Group workers union on Saturday continued their protest against illegal detention of Jang/Geo Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman for the last 183 days.

The Editor-in-Chief was arrested by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in a 35-year-old property exchange matter without giving any proof of charges or making any progress in the investigations.

They were staging a demonstration outside the Jang offices at the protest strike camp, set up by workers of Jang, Geo and The News employees for the last 161 days. They lamented that Prime Minister Imran Khan had been claiming to turn Pakistan into a Madina-like state, and was voted to power with the strong help of the media, but he had been victimising Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman for exposing the corruption and bad governance of the PTI government.

The demonstration participants termed it a blatant attack on the press freedom, and chanted slogans against the PTI government.

They demanded the chief justice of Pakistan take suo motu notice of the gross injustice to Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. They vowed to continue struggle for the release of the Editor-in-Chief till his freedom and warned PM Imran Khan to reign in NAB from further victimisation of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

Those who participated in the protest included Group Editor Shaheen Qureshi, senior journalist Bedar Bakht Butt, Jang Works Union Secretary General Farooq Malik, Pakistan Times News Editor Zaheer Anjum, Awais Qarni, Humayun Zaman Mirza, Amjad Saeed, Qaiser Saleem Khan, Ejaz Rasool, Ms Ayesha Akram, Ms Riffat, Saleem Kamran, Romeo Jalib, Muhammad Shafiq, Aziz Sheikh, Mohammad Irshad, Munawwar Hussain, Shahid Aziz, Muhammad Naeem, Muhammad Ali, Hafiz Asad, Akmal Bhatti, Afzal Abbas, Mushtaq and others.

Shaheen Qureshi termed the PTI government the worst kind of authoritarian regime.

Zaheer Anjum said the media could not work for the truth without freedom.

Bedar Bakht Butt said victimisation of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman must come to an end after detention of over five months.

Farooq Malik said the fake and fabricated case against Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman should be withdrawn and he should be released immediately.

Awais Qarni said the Editor-in-Chief was a symbol of freedom of expression and the struggle was not only for his release but also for the media freedom.

Ayesha Akram said the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was not only a conspiracy against the Jang/Geo Group but also the first step to mute all voices of the independent media.

Aziz Sheikh said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was being punished for writing and reporting the truth.

Shafiq Ahmad said the Jang/Geo Editor-in-Chief would always be known by the nation over his stand against the enemies of the press freedom.

The journalists on Saturday continued their protest to demand the release of Jang/Geo Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

Carrying banners and placards, the journalists gathered at the lawn outside The News, Geo TV and Daily Jang offices to record the protest. Speaking on the occasion, the protesting workers asked the chief justice of the Supreme Court to take notice of the arrest and illegal detention of Mir Shakil. They maintained that the government was using the National Accountability Bureau for political victimisation. Criticising the government for adopting such cheap tactics, they said that the rulers were trying to silence the media. However, they vowed that the journalists, particularly the Jang Group would continue to perform their professional duty.

The said that it was sheer injustice that Mir Shakil was arrested in connection with a 34-year-old property case, which showed that the rulers wanted to rein in the media. The protesting journalists vowed that they would continue to highlight the wrongdoings and give credible information to the people, which was their constitutional right.