RAWALPINDI / LAHORE / PESHAWAR / KARACHI: Journalists and workers of Geo and Jang Group holding a demonstration against the illegal and unlawful arrests of the Chief Editor of Jang / Geo Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman said they are proud to work with Mir Shakil -ur-Rahman who stands firm in his stand on the principle of media freedom.
Protests by journalists and workers of Geo and Jang Group across the country along with journalist organizations, civil society and political workers against the illegal arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman have been going on for the past 196 days.
At the protest camp outside Jang and The News’ offices in Rawalpindi, protesters chanted slogans for the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.
The protesters say they stand with Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in the struggle for the country’s media and for the right to freedom of expression as guaranteed in Pakistan’s Constitution.
Speaking at the protest camp, Chairman of the Joint Action Committee of Geo and Jang Group workers and Jang Rawalpindi Labor Union President Nasir Chisti said the authorities were making efforts to suppress media freedom but workers from the Geo and Jang groups thwarted these efforts.
Resident editor Jang Rawalpindi Hanif Khalid said the journalists ‘and workers’ union Geo and Jang thwarted efforts against Geo and Jang’s group.
Chief Reporter Jang Rawalpindi Rana Ghulam Qadir said rulers must learn from history that the country cannot move forward without media freedom. PML-N leader from Rawalpindi Imtiaz Taji said the opposition had unanimously raised a vote for Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’s release.
Jang Rawalpindi worker Amjad Ali Abbasi said all national and international journalists and human rights organizations have spoken up for Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’s release. Employee Jang Munir Shah said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman is leading the fight for media freedom in the country.
Those who also attended the protest demonstration in Rawalpindi included Khalid Mehmood, Rahat Munir, Azhar Sultan, Kamal Shah, Naseerul Haq, Malik Nusrat, Laeeq Shaukat, Sardar Heera Lal and others.
In Lahore, journalists, civil society members, officials of the media union and the Jang Group trade union on Friday condemned the arrest of Chief Editor Jang / Geo Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman over the past 196 days over a 35-year-old property swap issue without providing evidence of indictment or make any progress in the investigation.
Staging demonstrations outside Jang’s office at the workers’ camp of Geo, Jang and The News for 174 consecutive days, they criticized Prime Minister Imran Khan for working exactly against his over 20 years high claim to turn Pakistan into. a state similar to Medina, which he uses only to woo media support into power. But in fact, Imran Khan has victimized Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman for exposing the corruption and poor governance of PTI, they said, adding that there has been no progress in investigating the alleged corruption in the 35-year-old property swap case. against him or any formal case is registered. Participants called it a blatant assault on media freedom, chanting slogans against the fascist PTI regime and condemning the illegal and anti-media tactics of the NAB.
They demanded Pakistan’s chief judge take suo motu action against the gross injustice against Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, which is 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.
The protest participants included Secretary General of the Workers Union Jang Farooq Awan, Pakistan Times News Editor Zaheer Anjum, Awais Qarni, Shahab Ansari, Muhammad Shafiq, Ayesha Akram, Shagufta Naz, Aziz Sheikh, Munawwar Hussain, Shahid Aziz, Tariq Aziz, Muhammad Naeem. , Muhammad Ali, Akmal Bhatti, Afzal Abbas, Mushtaq, Zahid Mehmood 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 warned that other media house owners were the next target because Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was the first victim in the media policy to choke 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 don’t empower workers and professional journalists, their own power will be severely limited, and they will fall easy prey to the ruling and ruling elite. He said the Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman case should be an eye opener for all media owners.
Abdullah Malik said the media cannot work for truth without freedom because the media play 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.
Awais Qarni said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’s victimization must end after more than five months of detention, and that 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 other media houses and the recent closure of high-profile news outlets and a reduction in employment elsewhere.
Farooq Awan said the fake case against Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman had to be withdrawn and he had to be released. He warned that if Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was not released, the protests would add problems for the government. He said the government was not providing assistance to people from the economic crisis but was busy curbing media voices and victimizing media owners. He said Jang Group always reports the truth. He said the PTI government used all tactics of pressure to subdue the press and that Jang Group was bearing the brunt of being the largest media house in the country.
Aziz Sheikh said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’s arrest was intended to suppress independent media and it was an illegal detention because he always kept his financial affairs clean and the proof is that no government can find a dubious deal with him.
In Bahawalpur, the Bahawalpur Journalists Union and members of the press club on Friday staged a demonstration and staged a demonstration against the arrest of Chief Editor Jang / Geo Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.
Protesters chanted slogans against Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’s arrest and called his arrest illegal. They said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’s arrest was an attack on free media.
In Peshawar, members of the journalist community condemned the persecution of Jang / Geo Group Editor in Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman as they continued to protest against his arrest on Friday.
Protesters gathered in the courtyard outside the offices of Daily Jang, The News and Geo TV to protest the detention. Carrying banners and placards, they waved slogans against the Pakistani government of Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and supported media freedom.
Resident Editors Jang Arshad Aziz Malik, Shakeel Farman Ali, Sabz Ali Shah, Ehtesham Toru, Nasreen Jabeen, Sardar Imdad Ali Qazalbash and others spoke at the occasion. They resented Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’s arrest and detention for more than six months. Speakers said the PTI government arrested Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman on fabricated charges on March 12 and he had remained behind bars for the past 198 days.
They said the chairman of the Jang Group had been arrested for silencing the independent media and thus sent a warning to other media not to report independently. The protesters slammed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for targeting opposition parties and free media. They regretted that the KPK did not take any action against members of the ruling party who were suspected of being involved in the practice of defamation. The speakers questioned NAB’s silence over the wheat flour, the sugar crisis, the Jabba Night land, the Billion Tree Tsunami and the Bus Rapid Transit scam. They asked the Pakistan Supreme Court to pay attention to the case and give justice to Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.
In Karachi, speaking to protests for the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam leader Qari Usman said Imran Khan’s government must immediately stop its vengeful campaign against independent media as it has caused considerable harm to the country.
Usman said the Jang-Geo Group was promoting the country worldwide but the Pakistani government of Tehreek-e-Insaf was oppressing the same group to satisfy personal revenge. He said the government is abusing its power and must admit they must reap what they sow.
The Secretary General of the Confederation of All Newspaper Employees of Pakistan, Shakil Yamin Kanga, said the government does not want to hear the truth and those who dare to speak are detained. He demanded the immediate release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and said that otherwise journalists, civil society and labor unions would take to the streets against the government.
Secretary General of the Workers Union Javed Press Rana Yusuf said that Imran Khan had victimized not only Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman but the entire population of the country through his policies. He said that inflation, corruption, power and the economic crisis had made doing business in this country very difficult.