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September 24, 2020

Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’s detention: Jang-Geo workers adding new leaf to history of struggle

Top Story

September 24, 2020

RAWALPINDI/LAHORE/PESHAWAR: The journalists and workers of Geo-Jang Group, while protesting against the illegal arrest of Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, said on Wednesday that their unity has foiled the government attempts to suppress the free voices of the freedom of the media.

“The journalists and workers of the Geo-Jang Group were fighting the cause of the freedom of the media in the country as never in the past such restrictions on the media were imposed by the rulers,” the protestors said at the protest camp outside the offices of Jang and The News in Rawalpindi on Wednesday.

At the protest camp that has been continuing for the last 194 days against the illegal arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, the protesters chanted slogans and raised slogans.

Addressing the protestors, Secretary General Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists Nasir Zaidi said the workers of Geo and Jang Group were writing a new leaf of history for the struggle for the freedom of the media in the country.

Chairman Joint Action Committee of the workers of Geo and Jang Group and President Jang Workers Union Rawalpindi Nasir Chisti said of the workers of Geo and Jang group stood with Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman for his principled stance for the freedom of the media in the country.

Resident Editor The News Aamir Ghauri said the workers of Geo and Jang have succeeded in their movement for the freedom of media in the country. He said the movement of Geo and Jang Group was yielding the positive results in the struggle for the freedom of media in the country.

Resident Editor Jang Rawalpindi Hanif Khalid said those who dreamt of dictating Jang and The News on their terms were failed as of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman made it clear that he will not compromise on his principles stance of the freedom of the media in the country.

Secretary General Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists and senior correspondent of Geo News Islamabad Asif Ali Bhatti said that workers of Geo and Jang Group did not stand up only for their media group but also for all the media to ensure their right of freedom of media in the country.

Chief Reporter Jang Rawalpindi Jang Rawalpindi Rana Ghulam Qadir said that rulers should learn from the history that they could move forward without ensuring the freedom of the media in the country.

He said it was credit of Editor-in-Chief of Geo and Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman that now everyone demanded the freedom of the media and freedom of expression in the country. The workers of Jang Group Amjad Abbasi, Munir Shah, Nusrat Malik, Azhar Sultan, Naseerul Haq, Kamal Shah and other workers of Jang and The News vowed to foil all the conspiracies against the Geo and Jang Group.

In Lahore, journalists, civil society members, office-bearers of media unions and trade union of Jang Group on Wednesday condemned the arrest of Jang/Geo Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman for the last 194 days over a 35-year old property exchange matter without giving any proof of charges or making any progress in investigations.

Staging a demonstration outside Jang offices at a protest camp of the workers of Geo, Jang and The News employees for the 172nd consecutive day, they criticized Prime Minister Imran Khan for working exactly opposite to his tall claims of over 20 years to turn Pakistan into a Madina-like state, which he used only to woo media support to come into power. But, actually, Imran Khan has been victimizing Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman for exposing the corruption and bad governance of the PTI government, they said, adding that there was neither any progress in investigations into the corruption charges of 35 years old property exchange case against him nor any formal case was registered. The participants termed it a blatant attack on media freedom, chanted slogans against the fascist PTI regime and condemned the illegal and anti-media tactics of the NAB.

Wahab Mirza said media cannot work for the truth without freedom as it plays the role of a watchdog for the society and country. He noted that such victimizations were forced by dictators like Gen Ayub Khan, Gen Ziaul Haq, Gen Pervez Musharraf in the past and now media workers are being victimized by Imran Khan who was selected by the establishment to curb media. He said the whole world knew the truth that Imran Khan was selected in sham elections and is now proving that he is not the representative of the masses and democracy.

Awais Qarni said victimization of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman must come to an end after the detention of over five months, and he should be released as his arrest is a symbolic move to usurp media freedom. Already the results desired by the rulers are coming out and the arrest is leading towards crumbling of other media houses and closure of noted news channels and retrenchment of workers in others recently.

Farooq Awan said the fabricated case against Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman should be withdrawn and he should be released. He warned if Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman is not released, the protest would increase creating more problems for the government. He said the government instead of providing relief to people from the economic crunch is busy curbing the voice of media and victimizing media owners. He said the Jang Group always reported truth. He said the PTI government is using all pressure tactics to subdue the press and the Jang Group is bearing the brunt being the largest media house in the country.

In Peshawar, the members of the journalist community on Wednesday demanded the release of Jang/Geo Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

The protesters converged on the offices of Daily Jang, The News and Geo TV to register their anger. They raised slogans against the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and in support of press freedom.

The protesters demanded the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman who was arrested on March 12 and had been interned since then.

Jang Resident Editor Arshad Aziz Malik, Gohar Ali, Qaiser Khan, Ehtesham Toru, Amjad Safi, Rasool Dawar, Sardar Imdad Ali Qazalbash, Rahamdil and others criticised the government and the NAB for arresting Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman on cooked-up charges and keeping him behind bars for the last 196 days.

The protesters said the Jang Group chief had been arrested to pressurise the free media and bully others to force them to accept official dictates. The speakers said that the NAB had failed to take any action against the PTI members who were allegedly involved in corrupt practices.

The protesters deplored the lack of action by the NAB over wheat flour, sugar crises, Malam Jabba land, Billion Tree Tsunami and Bus Rapid Transit scandals. They requested the apex court to take notice of the case and provide justice to Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.