Tuesday December 06, 2022

Jang-Geo workers hold protests: Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman has become symbol of press freedom

September 17, 2020

KARACHI/LAHORE/RAWALPINDI/PESHAWAR: The protesters at the demonstration against the illegal arrest of Jang-Geo Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman while calling for his release said that Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was fighting the cause of the freedom of media in the country.

The journalists and workers of Geo and Jang Group along with journalist organisations, representatives of civil society and political workers continued their countrywide protest against the detention of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman for the last 187 days. At the protest camp outside the offices of Jang and The News in Rawalpindi, they raised slogans and raised placards and banners for the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and against the restrictions on the freedom of media.

They said the freedom of the media is a guarantee for the protection of basic human rights of the people of Pakistan. They said Geo and Jang Group always leads the struggle for the freedom of media in the country. They hoped for getting justice from the Supreme Court of Pakistan. They said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman has now become a symbol of struggle for the freedom of media in the country. Those who addressed the protest camp in Rawalpindi included Secretary General Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists Nasir Zaidi, Chairman Joint Action Committee of the workers of Geo and Jang Group Islamabad and President Jang Workers Union Rawalpindi Nasir Chisti, Resident Editor Jang Rawalpindi Hanif Khalid, Secretary General RIUJ and Senior correspondent Geo News Islamabad Asif Ali Bhatti and others .

In Peshawar, the protesters gathered outside the offices of Daily Jang, The News and Geo TV to voice anger at the long detention of the head of the largest media group of the country. They chanted slogans against the government for employing coercive tactics against free media by threatening anchors and journalists. Over the years arbitrary arrests and NAB styled pretrial detentions are employed to micromanage the editorial policies of the independent media.

Jang Resident Editor Arshad Aziz Malik, Bureau Chief Geo News Shakeel Farman Ali, Farmanullah Jan, Sabz Ali Shah, Gohar Ali, Amjad Safi, Ehtesham Toru, Imdad Ali Qazalbash, Rahamdil and others spoke on the occasion. They came down hard on the government for arresting Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman on false and fabricated charges on March 12 and keeping him under detention since then. They said that the Editor in Chief is being victimised for promoting independent journalism. Criticising the National Accountability Bureau, the speakers requested the Supreme Court of Pakistan to take notice of the case and provide justice to Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

Similarly, in Karachi the protest demonstration calling for the release of Mir Shakil on Wednesday was joined traders’ community leader Shakir Fancy said that injustice and illegal measures taken by the government against its critics had surpassed all the previous extremes. Fancy said that the Jang Geo Group has been the standard-bearer of credible and balanced editorial policy, but the government out of personal vendetta have condemned Rahman as a culprit without levelling no charges, let alone conviction. He said that traders’ community stand by the group.

In Lahore, journalists, civil society members, office-bearers of media unions and Jang Workers Union lamented that PTI government was usurping media freedom and causing mass unemployment in the media industry through different tactics including detaining Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

While staging a demonstration outside the Jang Offices at the protest camp of the workers of dailies Jang, The News and the Geo News and they lamented that Prime Minister Imran Khan is claiming to turn Pakistan into a Madina-like state for the last two decades, and was voted to power with the help of media.

But, on the contrary he is victimising Mir Shakil for exposing corruption and bad governance. hey termed the PTI government as the worst fascist and authoritarian regime bent upon gagging the voice of media to prevent exposure of its own corruption and bad governance.

Jang Workers Union Secretary General Farooq Malik, Pakistan Times News Editor Zaheer Anjum and a dozen of others were among the protesters.