LAHORE: Journalists, members of civil society, officials of the media union and the Jang Group trade union on Saturday continued to protest against the arrest of Chief Editor Jang / Geo Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman over the past 204 days over 35 days. -year property exchange issues without providing evidence of expense or making progress in investigations.
Holding demonstrations outside Jang’s office at a protest camp for 182 consecutive days, they criticized Prime Minister Imran Khan for taking a U-turn on his over 20 years high claim to turn Pakistan into a country like Medina, alleging that he used the slogan. . only to seduce media support into power. But, they said, in fact Imran Khan had persecuted Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman for exposing the corruption and bad governance of PTI. They regretted that Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was detained even though there was no progress in an investigation into the alleged corruption of the 35 year old property swap case or a registered formal case. Participants called it a blatant attack on media freedom and a conspiracy to shut down the country’s largest media group. They shouted slogans against the fascist PTI regime and condemned the illegal and anti-media tactics of the NAB.
They demand that Pakistan’s chief judge take suo motu action against this grave injustice which constitutes a direct attack on freedom of expression and media freedom. They demanded Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’s immediate release and threatened to launch an anti-government movement across the country if he was not released.
Protesters included Secretary General of the Workers Union Jang Farooq Awan, Pakistan Times News Editor Zaheer Anjum, senior journalist Awais Qarni, Muhammad Shafiq, Sher Ali Khalti, Ayesha Akram, Munawwar Hussain, Shahid Aziz, Muhammad Naeem, Muhammad Ali, Romeo Jalib, Akmal Bhatti, Afzal Abbas, and others.
Zaheer Anjum called the PTI government the worst kind of fascist and authoritarian regime that tends to choke off media voices to prevent corruption and bad governance from being exposed. He reminded that other media owners were the next target because Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was the first victim in the media policy that was choking the PTI government. He said strangling the entire media would be easy targets for the government and the establishment of PTI when high-ranking media houses would be closed down or badly scaled down. He said media owners must realize that if they do not empower workers and professional journalists, their own power will be severely limited and they will fall easy prey to the ruling and ruling elite.
Muhammad Shafiq said the media cannot work for truth without freedom because it plays a watchdog role for society and the state. He noted that such victimization was imposed by dictators such as General Ayub Khan, General Ziaul Haq, General Pervez Musharraf in the past and now media workers were victims of Imran Khan who was chosen by the government to curb the media.
He said the whole world knows the truth that Imran Khan was elected in a sham election and is now proving that he is not a representative of the masses and democracy.
Sher Ali Khalti said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’s victimization must end and he should be released because his arrest was a symbolic move to seize media freedom. The results desired by the rulers are already out and the arrests have led to the collapse of another media house and the closure of high-profile news channels and the reduction of workers elsewhere.
He said the government was instead of providing assistance to people from the economic crisis and was busy curbing media voices at the expense of media owners. He said Jang Group always reports the truth.
Farooq Awan said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was a symbol of freedom of expression and this struggle was not only for his release but also for future media freedom. He said the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was not only a conspiracy against Jang / Geo Group but also a first step to silence all the voices of the independent media.
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