Thursday December 07, 2023

Countrywide protests against Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’s detention

By Our Correspondent
September 30, 2020

KARACHI/RAWALPINDI/PESHAWAR/BAHAWALPUR: On the completion of 200 days of illegal and unjustified arrest of Editor-in-Chief of Jang-Geo Group, Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, journalists and workers of the Geo-Jang Group continued their countrywide protest on Tuesday and pledged to continue their movement for justice till Rahman’s release; they said that the whole nation stood with his narrative of freedom of the media in the country.

At the protest camp outside the offices of Jang and The News in Rawalpindi, the protesters carried banners, placards and raised slogans for the release of Editor-in-Chief of Geo and Jang Group and for the freedom of media in the country.

Chairman Joint Action Committee of the workers of Geo-Jang Group and President Jang Workers Union Rawalpindi Nasir Chisti, while addressing the protest camp, said the morale of the workers of Jang-Geo Group was high and they will continue their struggle for his release. He said Mir Shakil stands tall and has not made compromises on his principled stance.

Secretary General Rawalpindi-Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ) and senior correspondent of Geo News, Islamabad, Asif Ali Bhatti, said the journalists and workers of Geo-Jang Group salute the courage of Editor-in-Chief of Geo and Jang Group, who despite all the odds has maintained his stance on the freedom of media and refused to make any compromises on it.

Among others present in the protest camp included Chief Reporter Jang Rawalpindi Rana Ghulam Qadir, Munir Shah, Amjad Abbassi, Nusrat Malik, Kamal Shah, Rahat Munir, Naseerul Haq, Azhar Sultan, Aslam Butt, Athar Naqvi and others.

In Karachi, a large number of people belonging to civil society, trade unions, journalist organizations and political parties converged at the protest camp by the Jang-Geo Action Committee outside the Jang-Geo offices.

Addressing the demonstration, the speakers remarked that the corrupt, killers and rapists were roaming freely while those who speak and promoted the truth were interned. Women Welfare Association’s Chairperson Babra Ismail said Prime Minister Imran Khan wanted to shut down the Jang-Geo Group in vengeance but he was oblivious to the fact this news group has the world’s largest Urdu publication and broadcast, which reflected the voices and opinions of billions of people across the globe.

All Pakistan Newspapers Employees Confederation secretary general Shakil Yamin Kanga, The News Employees Union’s general secretary Dara Zafar and Javed Press Employees Union general secretary Rana Yusuf, senior journalist Tassaduq Ghori and WWA’s representatives Dr Hoor Shakir, Falak Yusuf and Sana Khan also addressed the protesters.

Likewise in Peshawar, the media workers renewed the call for releasing the Jang Group's Editor-in-Chief. They gathered outside the offices of Daily Jang, The News and Geo TV to register their anger at his prolonged detention and uncalled-for arrest.

They held banners and placards and chanted slogans against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government for victimizing Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. Senior journalist and Peshawar Press Club President Syed Bukhar Shah led the protest. Those who spoke on the occasion included Syed Bukhar Shah, Arshad Aziz Malik, Shakeel Farman Ali, Sabz Ali Shah, Farmanullah Jan, Rasool Dawar, Ansar Abbas, Ihtesham Toru, Qaiser Khan, Amjad Safi, Rizwan Shaikh, Sardar Imdad Ali Qazalbash, Raham Dil and others. They said Rahman was arrested to bring the independent media under pressure and force it to toe the official line. They flayed the NAB for targeting the opposition parties and free media while ignoring the ruling party members allegedly involved in wheat, flour, sugar crises, Malam Jabba land transaction, Billion Tree Tsunami and Bus Rapid Transit scandals.

Meanwhile, the Bahawalpur Union of Journalists and the press club members staged a demonstration against the detention of Editor-in-Chief.

The protest was led by former vice-president of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists and FEC member Muhammad Ameen Abbasi and Bahawalpur Union of Journalists general secretary Rasheed Hashmi. The protesting journalists also took out a rally, raised slogans and demanded his immediate release.