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October 10, 2020

Struggle for Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’s release: Jang/Geo workers keep their morale high

October 10, 2020

RAWALPINDI/LAHORE/PESHAWAR/KARACHI: The Jang/Geo group journalists and workers on Friday said all the international journalists, human right activists and intellectuals declared the detention of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman as illegal and only meant to control media in Pakistan.

They said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman become a powerful voice for freedom of media in the country.

The journalists and workers of the Geo and Jang Group along with the journalist organisations, representatives of civil society and political workers have been continuing their countrywide protest against the illegal and unjust arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman for last seven months.

At the protest camp outside the offices of Jang and The News in Rawalpindi, the protesters raised the slogans for the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

Addressing the protest camp, Chairman Joint Action Committee of workers of Geo and Jang Group Islamabad and President Jang Workers Union Nasir Chisti said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman refused to compromise on his principled stance on freedom of media and it gave strength to voices who were struggling for freedom of media in the country.

Senior journalist Abas Alam said the Jang/Geo workers were confident to get justice from the Supreme Court and Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman will be released soon.

Chief Reporter Jang Rawalpindi Rana Ghulam Qadir said having a freedom of media is a constitutional right and there will be no comprise on it.

PML-N leader Imtiaz Taji said the workers of the political parties stood with the workers of Geo and Jang Group in the movement for justice to Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. Worker of Jang Group Amjad Abbassi said the morale of the workers of Geo and Jang still high and they are determined to continue their movement for the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

Worker of Jang group Munir Shah said the national and international journalists and human rights organisations were raising voice for release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

Among others, who also participated in the protest camp in Rawalpindi include Nusrat Malik, Kamal Shah, Naseerul Haq, Azhar Sulatn, Aslam Butt, Athar Naqvi, Khalid Mehmood and other social and political workers. In Lahore, journalists, civil society members, office-bearers of media unions and Jang Workers Union continued protesting against the illegal arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, who is under detention for the last 210 days.

Staging demonstration outside the Jang Offices Friday at the protest camp for 188th consecutive day, they criticised Prime Minister Imran Khan for taking U-turn on his tall claims of over 20 years to turn Pakistan into a Madina-like state, alleging that he used the slogan only to woo media support to come to power. They said actually Imran had been victimising Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman for exposing the corruption and bad governance of the PTI regime. They regretted that editor-in-chief was detained despite no progress made in investigations into the corruption charges regarding 34-year-old property exchange matter. The protesters termed it a blatant attack on media freedom and a conspiracy to close down country’s largest media group. They shouted slogans against the fascist government and condemned the anti-media tactics of the NAB.

They demanded the chief justice to take a suo motu notice against this gross injustice which was a direct attack on the freedom of expression and liberty of media. 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 Works Union’s Secretary General Malik Farooq Awan, Pakistan Times News Editor Zaheer Anjum, senior journalists Muhammad Shafiq, Awais Qarni, Abdul Wahab, Ayesha Akram, Munawwar Hussain, Shahid Aziz, Muhammad Ali, Akmal Bhatti, Afzal Abbas, Shahzad Rauf, Zahid Mehmood, Khizar Hayat and Masood Ahmad were prominent among the protesters.

In Peshawar, the members of the journalist community on Friday continued the protest against the arrest of Jang/Geo Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and demanded his release.

Peshawar Press Club president Syed Bukhar Shah led the protest outside the offices of Daily Jang, The News and Geo TV.

The protesters were carrying banners and placards inscribed with slogans which sought the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

Syed Bukhar Shah, Arshad Aziz Malik, Shakeel Farman Ali, Farmanullah Jan, Gohar Ali, Ansar Abbas, Imdad Ali Qazalbash and others spoke on the occasion.

They slammed the government for targeting the Jang Media Group and arresting Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

The protesters said the Jang Group chief had been detained for the last 212 days in a case on cooked-up charges.

They were critical of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for allegedly pressurising the opposition and the free media.

The speakers alleged that the NAB was targeting the opposition, but was ignoring huge corruption committed by the ruling party members.

They deplored the lack of action by the anti-graft watchdog over the wheat flour, sugar, Malam Jabba land, Billion Tree Tsunami and Bus Rapid Transit Project scandals.

The protesters demanded the Supreme Court of Pakistan take notice of the case and provide justice to Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

IN Karachi, speaking to the demonstration for the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, Pir Ilahi Bux Foundation’s general secretary Ali Asghar said that Jang-Geo Group was the leading media institution in the country and had always supported the truth and reported the facts.

Asghar said the government was a setting a wrong precedent which will hurt it later. He said that existence of independent media was linked to the prevalence of democracy but this so-called elected government was doing worse than dictatorships.

He added that Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’s long incarceration bespoke of his resilience in front of systematic harassment. He reiterated his support to the protesting employees of the Jang-Geo Group and lauded their struggle in the crisis created by the government.

Others who spoke at the demonstration included All Pakistan Newspapers Employees Confederation’s secretary general Shakil Yamin Kanga, Muslim League-Nawaz’s Sindh vice-president Iqbal Khaksar, APNEC vice-chairman Rana Yusuf and The News Employees Union’s general secretary Dara Zafar.