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October 24, 2020

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

Top Story

October 24, 2020

RAWALPINDI/LAHORE/KARACHI: Protesting the illegal and unjustified arrest of Editor-in-Chief Geo/Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, workers, journalists and civil society members Friday said the world was asking for reasons for arresting Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman but the rulers had no answer, as he was detained only to convey a message to all those who had raised their voice for media freedom in the country.

The protestors gathered outside the offices of Jang and The News carrying banners inscribed with slogans seeking release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, and for media freedom.

Addressing the participants, Secretary General Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists Nasir Zaidi said freedom of press was under threat in the PTI government.

He said no one had seen such a media censorship and restrictions in any democratic era and it was the first time that journalists were out on the road against the media policies of the government.

Chairman Joint Action Committee of workers of Geo and Jang group and President Jang Workers Union Rawalpindi Nasir Chishti said neither Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman nor Geo/Jang group workers had compromised on the principle of media freedom.

He said the workers of the Geo/Jang group was determined to continue movement for justice for Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

Secretary General Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists and senior correspondent Geo News, Islamabad Asif Ali Bhatti said the world wanted to know the reasons behind the detention of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman but the government had no answer.

He said everyone knew that the illegal and unjustified arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was part of a conspiracy to close Geo/Jang Group.

Among others who addressed the protest demonstrations included Rana Ghulam Qadir, Shakil Awan, Malik Nusrat, Kamal Shah, Naseerul Haq, Azhar Sultan, Aslam Butt, Athar Naqvi and other social and political workers.

In Lahore, journalists, civil society members, office-bearers of media unions and trade union of Jang Group continued protests against the illegal detention of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

The protesters said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman had been in the NAB custody for the last 224 days over a 35-year-old property exchange matter without any proof of charges or making any progress in investigations.

They criticized the prime minister for backing out on his claims to turn Pakistan into a Madina-like state, alleging that he used the slogan only to hoodwink the masses and win elections with the media support.

They urged the chief justice to take suo motu action 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 an anti-government movement across the country if he was not released.

The participants included Muhammad Farooq Awan, general secretary Jang workers union, News Editor of Pakistan Times, Zaheer Anjum, senior journalists Awais Qarni, Munawwar Hussain, Ms Ayesha Akram, Aziz Sheikh, Shahid Aziz, Muhammad Ali, Zahid Mehmood, Akmal Bhatti, Afzal Abbas, Masood Ahmad, Wahab Khanzada, Romeo Jalib and many others.

Meanwhile, senior journalist Mairaj Raza Friday remarked that the detention of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman had created unrest among the media houses, as they felt vulnerable to report and write the truth.

Speaking to the participants of a demonstration organized by the Jang-Geo Action Committee in Karachi, Raza, who is joint editor of Mutalba Group of Newspapers, demanded immediate release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and end to the government’s vengeful campaign against the independent media.

He said the whole journalist community was on the same page against the unjust detention of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and supported the protesting employees of Jang-Geo Group and their demands.

Others who spoke on the occasion included All Pakistan Newspapers Employees Confederation’s Secretary General Shakil Yamin Kanga, The News Employees Union’s General Secretary Dara Zafar, Javed Press Union’s General Secretary Rana Yusuf and Arain Ittehad leader Jam Muhammad Asghar.