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October 1, 2020

Protests against detention of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman: Govt trying to muzzle free press

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October 1, 2020

KARACHI/LAHORE/RAWALPINDI/PESHAWAR: The journalists and workers of Geo-Jang Group on Wednesday continued their protest against the illegal and unjustified detention of Editor-in-Chief of Geo-Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and termed it a sad reflection that a democratic government was trying to muzzle the free press and muffle dissent.

They said this only goes on to show the shrinking space around the Jang-Geo Group fighting for its editorial independence.

At a protest camp outside the offices of Jang and The News in Rawalpindi, the protestors displayed banners and chanted slogans for the release of Mir Shakil. Addressing the protest camp, Chairman Joint Action Committee of workers of Geo-Jang Group, Islamabad, and President Jang Workers Union Rawalpindi Nasir Chisti said the workers of Jang-Geo Group were now looking towards the Supreme Court for justice. He said the workers of the group have high hopes of justice from the Supreme Court.

PML-N leader of Rawalpindi Imtiaz Taji expressed the hope that Rahman will get justice from the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Meanwhile in Karachi, the former Supreme Court Bar Association president Salahuddin Gandapur said that the Jang-Geo Group always supported the truth and that was why it has been on the target of the governments, which wanted to hide their wrongdoings and corruption. Speaking to the protest outside the Jang-Geo offices in Karachi, Gandapur said that the government wanted to pressurize the group into submission through incarceration of its editor-in-chief.

All Pakistan Newspapers Employees Confederation secretary general Shakil Yamin Kanga, senior lawyer Pir Darvesh and APNEC vice-chairman Rana Yusuf also spoke on the issue.

Similarly in Peshawar, the members of the journalist community continued the protest against Rahman’s arrest and demanded his release. They had converged outside the offices of Daily Jang, The News and Geo TV and voiced resentment at the arrest. The protesters carried banners and placards. They chanted slogans against PTI government for victimizing Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and his Jang Media Group.

Arshad Aziz Malik, Shakeel Farman Ali, Nisar Mahmood, Sabz Ali Shah, Ihtesham Toru, Qaiser Khan, Amjad Safi, Sardar Imdad Ali Qazalbash, Raham Dil and others spoke on the occasion.

In Lahore, journalists, civil society members, office-bearers of media unions and Jang Workers Union criticised the illegal arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman over a 34-year-old property exchange case without giving any proof of charges or making any progress in the investigations.

Staging the demonstration outside the Jang-Geo offices, they criticised the prime minister for victimising Mir Shakil only because the group exposed PTI’s corruption and bad governance. They demanded immediate release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and threatened to launch anti-government movement across the country if he was not released.

Jang Workers Union Secretary General Malik Farooq Awan, Pakistan Times News Editor Zaheer Anjum, Human Rights worker from AJK Humayun Zaman Mirza were prominent among the protesters.