Wednesday September 22, 2021

Protests continue for Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’s release: Media gag reflective of tyrannical rule

RAWALPINDI/LAHORE: The workers of Jang-Geo Group, along with a cross-section of journalist and media organizations, civil society and political workers, continued their protest on Tuesday against the persecution of Editor-in-Chief of Geo-Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, saying countrywide media gag of the independent press is reflective that tyranny has replaced democracy.

Terming his unduly long incarceration as illegal and unjust, particularly without any shred of evidence against him or progress in the case, they said the movement for justice for Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and the freedom of the media will continue.

At the protest camp outside the offices of Jang and The News in Rawalpindi, the demonstrators, raising slogans and carrying placards, demanded Rahman's release.

Those who attended the protest camp included Secretary General Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists Nasir Zaidi, Chairman Joint Action Committee of Geo and Jang Group, Islamabad, and President Jang Workers Union Rawalpindi Nasir Chisti, Chief Reporter Jang Rawalpindi Rana Ghulam Qadir, Amjad Abbassi, Munir Shah, Malik Nusrat, Kamal Shah, Naseerul Haq, Azhar Sulatn, Aslam Butt, Athar Naqvi and other social and political workers besides workers of Jang and The News.

Secretary General PFUJ Nasir Zaidi said October 22 will be observed as the day of the freedom of the press and for honourable release of Mir Shakil. He said the workers of Jang-Geo Group have written a new page in history with their consistent struggle for the cause of the freedom of media. Other speakers said that editor-in-chief was unlawfully detained in a 34-year-old fake and fabricated case which goes on to only prove vendetta against the Group's bold and independent editorial policies.

The protesters said the workers stood united and will foil all the conspiracies against their group. Similarly in Lahore, a large group of media workers were joined in solidarity by a cross-section of the society, protesting against the over seven month long detention of Rahman.

They criticised Prime Minister Imran Khan for victimising the editor-in-chief for boldly reporting the bad governance and economic mismanagement that has made the lives of the common man miserable.

The demonstrators termed the attacks against the Group and the persecution of Mir Shakil as a blatant attack on media freedom. They chanted slogans against the fascist PTI regime and condemned it for using NAB to arm twist the media.

The protesters included Secretary General of Jang workers union Malik Farooq Awan, News Editor of Pakistan Times Zaheer Anjum, civil society leader Abid Sialvi, Muhammad Irfan, senior journalists Awais Qarni, Sher Ali Khalti, Munawwar Hussain, Ms Ayesha Akram, Aziz Sheikh, Muhammad Ali, Zahid Mehmood, Wahab Khanzada, Akmal Bhatti, Afzal Abbas and others.