Focus should be on prime responsibilities not Geo
LAHORE: The protest against attacks on senior anchorperson Hamid Mir and Zafar Aheer – resident editor of daily Jang Multan – and the illegal suspension Geo TV Network across the country entered its 48th day on Thursday.
A large number of journalists, civil society members, representatives of labourer unions, workers of political and religious parties and lawyers participated in a demonstration held on Davis Road outside the Geo/Jang offices.
Carrying banners and placards inscribed with slogans in favour of Hamid Mir and Geo/Jang, they demanded immediate restoration of Geo transmission and demanded an effective action by the government.
The Jang Employees Union also set up a token hunger strike camp which will continue till the arrest of perpetrators of attack on Hamid Mir and complete restoration of Geo TV transmission.
The participants also condemned the attacks on Jang/Geo employees and burning of vehicles and copies of Jang and The News in various cities of the country. The prominent participants included Nisar Safdar Advocate, Civil Society Network President Abdullah Malik, Awami Workers Party General Secretary Farooq Tariq and senior journalists including Khawar Naeem Hashmi, Maqsood Butt, Bedar Bakht Butt and Wasif Nagi.
Jang Workers Union President Rukhsana Nazli and General Secretary Waseem Babar, Waheed Butt, renowned political figure Hanif Goraya, Shahida Jabeen, Rauf Sheikh, Amina Malik, Khalid Farooqi, Saima Warraich, Akbar Jatoi, Gohar Butt, Farhat Abbas Shah, Mahmood Ahmed, Amin Hafeez, Rasheed Ali, Ijaz Manzoor, Jawwad Malik, Nadeem Zia, Zahid Ahmed, Fakhira Tehreem, former president of Punjab Assembly Press Gallery Babar Dogar, Shehrayar Warraich, Muneer Khokhar, Sharafat Ali, Rana Shahid, Raja Arsalan Khan, Ali Zafar, Awais Qarni, Muhammad Shafique, Arshad Shafique, Tariq Jamal, Mirza Naseer Baig, Azhar Maqbool, Muhammad Babar, Sabir Awan, Asim Naseer, Talha Anwar Zaidi, Muhammad Hussain, Usman Saleem, Naeem Sarfraz, Muhammad Naeem and others were also present on the occasion.
Addressing the crowd, Nisar Safdar Advocate asked the establishment not to indulge in institutional fighting like that with Geo/Jang Group rather it should focus on its prime responsibilities. He said people stood united with Geo/Jang Group which would win the war of nerves as it had always supported and promoted truth in the country.
Wasif Nagi said it was not the angels but the ghosts who were after the Jang Group as they (ghosts) caused destruction wherever they went. He said efforts were underway to bring back the eras of Ayub and Zia to punish media. He said the owners of media houses had opted to internal fighting and the journalists would have to wake up to save the sacred profession.
Farooq Tariq said targeting the Jang Group employees and burning vehicles and newspaper copies was against the law and Constitution, adding that such acts exposed the efforts to establish a state within the state.
He said Geo was being blamed for all wrongdoings in the country by angels but they should keep in mind what had happened in 1971, 1984 and 1999 when Geo didn’t exist. He said the government should come forward and play her role in normalising the situation which had already caused a huge loss to the Jang Group and media.
Hanif Goraya said establishment was polarising the country but journalists would foil such moves. He said they would win the battle against the angels as they represented the truth.Khawar Naeem Hashmi said the journalist community and Jang Group workers would not let the angels succeed in their nefarious designs aimed at maligning the country’s largest and independent media house. The fight would go on till the final victory, he added.
Bedar Bakht Butt said anti-democracy forces wanted to roll back media freedom which would not be tolerated at any cost. He said unity among journalists would be the key at the current crucial juncture as it would also help in defending their rights and democracy. He said through a planned conspiracy, angels wanted to damage the largest media house of the country to promote their agenda.