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September 26, 2020

Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’s detention: Jang-Geo workers continue protest

Top Story

September 26, 2020

RAWALPINDI/LAHORE/PESHAWAR/KARACHI: The journalists and workers of Geo and Jang Group while holding demonstration against the illegal and unjustified arrest of Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman said they were proud to work with Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman who stood firm on his principled stance of freedom of media.

The countrywide protest of journalists and workers of the Geo and Jang Group along with the cross section of journalists’ organisations, civil society and political workers against Rahman's over six-month long illegal detention continued.

At the protest camp outside the offices of the Jang and The News in Rawalpindi, the protesters chanted slogans for the release of Mir Shakil. They said they stood by him in the struggle for the media in the country and for the just cause of right of freedom of expression as guaranteed in the Constitution of Pakistan.

Addressing the protest camp, Chairman Joint Action Committee of workers of Geo and Jang Group and President Jang Workers Union Rawalpindi Nasir Chisti said the rulers in the past had also tried to suppress the freedom of media but the workers of Geo and Jang group foiled their designs. Resident Editor Jang Rawalpindi Hanif Khalid said the unity of journalists and workers of Geo and Jang group will foil the attempts against the group.

Similarly, in Lahore, journalists, civil society members, office-bearers of media unions and trade union of Jang Group condemned the continued detention arrest of the Editor-in-Chief since 196 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 the Jang offices at a protest camp of the workers of Geo, Jang and The News criticized Prime Minister Imran Khan for working exactly opposite to his tall claims of turning Pakistan into a Madina-like state, which he used only to woo media support to come into power. Imran Khan is only victimizing Mir Shakil for exposing the corruption and bad governance of the PTI government. They demanded that the chief justice of Pakistan to take a suo motu action against this gross injustice against Rahman, which is a direct attack on the freedom of expression and liberty of media. The participants in the protest included Secretary General of Jang workers Union Farooq Awan, News Editor of Pakistan Times Zaheer Anjum, Awais Qarni, Shahab Ansari, Muhammad Shafiq, Ayesha Akram, Shagufta Naz, Aziz Sheikh, Munawwar Hussain, Shahid Aziz, Tariq Aziz, Muhammad Naeem, Muhammad Ali, Akmal Bhatti, Afzal Abbas, Mushtaq, Zahid Mehmood and others.

Also in Bahawalpur, the Bahawalpur Union of Journalists and the press club members staged a demonstration and took out a rally against the unjust detention of Jang-Geo Editor-in Chief. They chanted slogans against his detention and termed it illegal and an attack on free media.

In Peshawar, the members of the journalist community condemned the victimisation of the Jang-Geo Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman as they continued the protest against his arrest on Friday. The protesters converged outside the offices of Daily Jang, The News and Geo TV. Carrying banners and placards, they raised slogans against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government and in support of media freedom. Jang Resident Editor Arshad Aziz Malik, Shakeel Farman Ali, Sabz Ali Shah, Ehtesham Toru, Nasreen Jabeen, Sardar Imdad Ali Qazalbash and others spoke on the occasion. They flayed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for targeting opposition parties and free media. They deplored that the anti-graft body had not taken any action against the ruling party members who, they alleged, were involved in tainted practices. The speakers questioned the NAB silence over wheat flour, sugar crises, Malam Jabba land, Billion Tree Tsunami and Bus Rapid Transit scams. They requested the Supreme Court of Pakistan to take notice of the case and provide justice to Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

In Karachi, speaking to the protest for the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam leader Qari Usman said that Imran Khan’s government must stop its vengeful campaign against the independent media immediately as it had already inflicted enough loss to the country.

Usman said that the Jang-Geo Group was promoting the country across the world but the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government was oppressing the same group to satisfy personal vendetta. He said the government was misusing its powers and it must acknowledge that it will have to reap what it was sowing.

The All Pakistan Newspapers Employees Confederation general secretary, Shakil Yamin Kanga, said that the government was not willing to listen to the truth and those who dared to speak were being incarcerated. He demanded the immediate release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and said that otherwise, journalists, civil society and trade unionists will take to the streets against the government.