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October 30, 2020

Protests against illegal detention of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman continue

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October 30, 2020

RAWALPINDI/LAHORE/KARACHI: The protest demonstration of the journalists and Jang/Geo workers against the illegal detention of Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman continued in Pindi Thursday.

The protesters said the national, international journalists’ organisations along with international human rights organisations and intellectuals acknowledged the struggle of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman for the freedom of media in the country.

The participants vowed to continue their protest till editor-in-chief’s release. The demonstration was staged outside the Jang offices and they shouted slogans for the release of editor-in-chief. Those who addressed the protest camp included PFUJ’s Secretary General Nasir Zaidi, Chairman Joint Action Committee of workers of Geo and Jang Group and president Jang Workers Union Rawalpindi Nasir Chisti, leader of Awami Workers Party Jamil Bhatti, Rawalpindi/Islamabad Union of Journalists Secretary General Asif Ali Bhatti, Amjad Abbasi, Munir Shah, Malik Nusrat, Kamal Shah, Naseerul Haq, Azhar Sultan, Aslam Butt, Athar Naqvi and other social and political workers besides workers of Jang and The News. They said Jang Group and Geo gave awareness to the people of Pakistan for their political and constitutional rights. They said the workers of Geo and Jang Group were determined to protect their group from conspiracies of those who did not believe in freedom of media in the country.

They said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman stood as a wall to protect the cause of freedom of media in the country that was guaranteed in the Constitution.

According to another report, the journalists and workers of The News, Jang and Geo continued their protest against the unjust arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in Lahore Thursday.

Pakistan Times News Editor Zaheer Anjum implored the Supreme Court to take notice of the case and provide justice to Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, who had been languishing in jail since March 12 of this year.

He said the editor-in-chief was exposing the corruption of incumbent government that’s why he had been detained. Sher Ali Khalti said illegal detention of Mir Shakil-ur Rahman was a direct attack on the freedom of expression and liberty of media. He said, “Our struggle will continue till the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, who has now become a symbol of freedom of media in the country. He said criticism was beauty of democracy, adding free media provides oxygen to democracy. He lamented that the incumbent government was playing a dangerous game by putting its critics in jail.

The protesters included Jang Workers Union’s Secretary General Malik Farooq Awan, Zaheer Anjum, senior journalists Awais Qarni, Sher Ali Khalti, Munawwar Hussain, Ayesha Akram, Shahid Aziz, Romeo Jalib, Yasin Mughal, Shafiq Ahmed, Muhammad Ali, Zahid Mehmood, Akmal Bhatti, Afzal Abbas, Masood Ahmad and others.

Meanwhile, Babar Sulehri, central president of Youth Assembly for Human Rights, said in a statement that Jang Group played an important role for the promotion and protection of fundamental rights. Jang Group has given voice to the masses and has always fought for their rights. He urged the government to release Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman immediately.

In Karachi, speaking to the protest for the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman on Thursday, former lawmaker Shahjahan Baloch said that the Jang-Geo Group was being targeted by the government because it was telling the truth to the people of Pakistan about the circumstances of the country.

Baloch, who is associated with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, said that Jang-Geo Group had contributed a fair share in development and progress of the country and an attack on it was tantamount to attacking the whole independent media. He lauded the resilience showed by Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in the face of government pressure.

He said that the Mir family was the pioneer of journalism in Pakistan and had rendered plausible services in developing the media industry in the country. He criticised the government’s vengeful campaign against the Jang-Geo Group and hoped that soon it will all be over because justice and truth always prevail.

Others who spoke at the demonstration included All Pakistan Newspaper Confederation’s secretary general Shakil Yamin Kanga, The News Employees Union’s general secretary Dara Zafar and Javed Press Employees Union’s general secretary Rana Yusuf.