Civil society, political parties protest against blackout of Geo
LAHORE: The protest against the attack on senior anchorperson Hamid Mir and illegal suspension of Geo TV network transmission continued on Friday, as civil society members, journalists, representatives of labourers and political workers raised their voice in favour of media freedom and against targeting the Jang Group.
The protesters demanded immediate restoration of Geo transmission, saying it was the voice of millions of people and could not be silenced on wishes of a few angels. They expressed their serious concerns that over a month and half had passed since Hamid Mir was attacked, but the culprits were still at large.
They said the people, who suspended the transmission of people’s favourite TV channel Geo illegally, should make public the law, if they had any, under which they were doing so. The supreme law of Pakistan, the Supreme Court of Pakistan and every court of the country gave complete freedom of expression to every citizen, they added.
Among the prominent who attended the protest included senior journalists Nazir Leghari, Khawar Naeem Hashmi, Maqsood Butt, Jang Workers Union President Rukhsana Nazli and Secretary Waseem Babar, Wasif Nagi, Sabir Awan, Hafizullah Niazi, Zahid Ali Khan, Ijaz Manzoor, Shahid Aslam, Imdad Qureshi, Ijaz Mirza, Farooq Chohan, Naseer Baig, Azhar Maqbool, Naveed Aslam, Civil Society Network President Abdullah Malik, Sohail Butt, Muneer Khokhar, Adeel Khokhar, Asim Naseer and Waheed Butt.
Addressing the protesters on Davis Road, Nazir Leghari said those at the helm of affairs were pressing the Geo/Jang Group for accountability who himself had never been made accountable for the past seven decades. He said the Geo/Jang Group had tendered unconditional apology to the Pakistan Army and ISI but they were not accepting it. The noted journalist said the Geo/Jang Group had presented itself for accountability and would accept the court verdict in every matter, but would not accept the verdict of angels.
He said the nation had never asked the dictators about their actions and what they had done to the country in the past seven decades, adding that no one was asking them how and why they sold three rivers of the country against peanuts. He said they had never been questioned about murderer the country’s first prime minister and why they kept ridiculing and removing the elected prime ministers.
Leghari further also raised the point that no one ever asked them why they surrendered before the Indian army in Bengal and imposed martial law repeatedly in the country. “One prime minister was hanged and the other was thrown out of the country. Did anyone ask them about their actions?”
He said, “If we had committed a mistake during the coverage of Hamid Mir issue, we apologised from the quarters concerned.”Leghari said one thing everyone should keep in his mind was that the Geo/Jang Group would not be banned or suspended as they were not only a source of information to a large number of people but also over 50,000 workers were dependent on the country’s largest media house to feed their families. The workers of Geo/Jang Group would defend the media house against every illegal action, he vowed.
Maqsood Butt said some so-called anchors had set a stage to malign independent judiciary, media and democracy to please the angels. He said through malicious campaign against the respected judges of superior courts, the puppet anchors wanted court decisions of their own choice.
He said the cable operators throughout Pakistan were being threatened by some powerful quarters to black out Geo. Such illegal and unethical acts of the hidden hands would not be acceptable to the journalist community.
Abdullah Malik said if asking about the elements attacking Hamid Mir was illegal and unlawful, then the civil society would continue committing that crime. He said the workers of Geo/Jang Group had rendered great sacrifices for Pakistan, democracy and independence of media and they were again fighting for media freedom.
He said the whole nation stood united with Hamid Mir and Geo/Jang Group as some powerful forces wanted to silence the largest and most effective media house.Khawar Naeem Hashmi said “a message is being conveyed to us that you would be made a part of the history”, but they wanted to tell those forces that they had always written the history and were once again righting a glorious page.
Khalid Farooqui said those levelling serious allegations against the Jang Group including that of receiving foreign funding should provide proof. He said depriving people from having access to Geo and the Jang Group newspapers was against the people’s fundamental rights. He said the malicious campaign would not be able to make the Jang Group bow down before anyone.Babar Waseem said the rented anchors were hurling abuses and accusations only for material gains but the Jang Group workers would foil such moves.