Reporters continue to protest the arrest of Jang / Geo Editor-in-Chief
LAHORE / KARACHI: Jang / Geo Group workers continued their protest against the illegal arrest of Jang / Geo Chief Editor Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman on Saturday.
Representatives from several journalist bodies and political parties also joined them in the protest.
Shaheen Qureshi, Raees Ansari, Zahid Sherwani, Naseem Qureshi, Khizar Hayat Gondal, Zahid Ali Khan, Muhammad Farooq, secretary general of Jang Workers Union, Mahboob Hussain Ansari, information secretary of the Pakistan Pakistan Journalists Association (PJAM) Bab Lahore, Suhail Kausar, president of PJAM ,, Miraj Hassan, vice president of Lahore PJAM, Azhar Javed, Malik Imran and others participated in the protest camp in Lahore.
Speakers called the National Accountability Bureau’s action an attack on the press. They say Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was convicted of publishing the truth.
Media analyst Tanveer Shahzad said that the press is currently being restrained in Pakistan. He said human rights organizations and legal fraternity stood together with Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. He said Prime Minister Imran Khan had to listen to the voices of representatives from human rights bodies and lawyers. He said the government was trying to control the press and journalists. He said when the country faced a coronavirus pandemic, the prime minister could not open a new front of the confrontation.
Ahmed Ali Sani, a key member of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, condemned the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and said the action was an example of fascism. Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman became a victim for publishing the truth, he added. He said the government should improve its performance rather than suppressing press freedom.
Participants shouted slogans at the opportunity for the immediate release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. They demanded payment of 6 billion in arrears of media houses.
Demanding the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, Party leader Pak Sarzameen (PSP) Shabbir Qaimkhani on Saturday said that many governments in the past tried to silence independent media but they could never win because ultimately only the truth won. Speaking with protest demonstrations outside Jang Geo’s office in Karachi, Qaimkhani said that unjust rulers and tyrants were always remembered cruelly and advised Prime Minister Imran Khan not to be one of them.
He said that instead of controlling inflation and providing assistance to the public, not to mention as promised before the election, Imran Khan was busy fulfilling his dream of controlling the media and targeting the Jang Geo Group accordingly.
He called the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman a real attempt at media independence and said that he, his party and all supporters of freedom of expression stood next to Jang Geo Group in their struggle against oppression.
Deputy secretary general of the Federation of Trade Unions Nasir Mansoor said that the federal government specifically targeted the Jang Geo Group for independent and fair journalism and arrested its editor in chief for not being subject to pressure.
Mansoor said that the arrest was a reminder that the government had no tolerance for reality and criticism of anyone who would oppose it would be an example of persecution. He added that Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was the target of revenge.
Secretary General of the Home Workers Women’s Federation Zehra Khan said that while the world was fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, Jang Geo Group workers had been involved in another front to secure the independence of their news groups.
Zehra Khan expressed his disgust at the partisan approach of certain news channels in the case of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and their unethical and non-journalistic parties with the government to appease public advertising. He said that Jang / Geo Group is the forefront of independent media, after which nothing is safe.
Others who spoke included the secretary general of the Dara Zafar News Employees Union, the secretary general of the Pakistan Newspaper Confederation of Employees Shakil Yamin Kanga, secretary general of the United Press Association Javed Rana Yusuf and Karachi News bureau chief Fahim Siddiqui.