Protest continues against banning Geo; singers Shaukat Ali and Jawwad
LAHORE: Protesters on Thursday said if Geo was a traitor for promoting peace between India and Pakistan, then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should be given the same title for advocating peace between the two nuclear states of South Asia.
During a protest against the attack on Hamid Mir and illegal suspension of Geo by Pemra, they said it was Nawaz who always talked about promoting peace with India and if Geo could be labelled as traitor, then the prime minister should also get a similar treatment.
They also demanded immediate restoration of Geo and action against all those who levelled baseless allegations at the country’s largest media house.In Thursday’s protest, hundreds of people from all walks of life including civil society, student organisations, religious and political parties, representatives of labour unions and journalist’s bodies participated.
The prominent participants included: former MNA and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) leader Dr Samia Raheel Qazi, PPP Lawyer Forum Chairman Iftikhar Shahid, Civil Society Network president Abdullah Malik and senior journalists Khawar Naeem Hashmi, Wasif Nagi and Maqsood Butt.
Renowned singer Shaukat Ali and his son Mohsin Abbas participated in the protest and presented a national song. Singer Jawwad Ahmed and actor Khalid Butt also joined the Thursday’s protest.
Jang Worker Union President Rukhsana Nazli and General Secretary Waseem Babar, Shahab Ansari, Bedar Bakht Butt, Waheed Butt, Khalid Farooqi, PFUJ Senior Vice President Ijaz Mirza, Akbar Jatoi, Gohar Butt, Asim Hussain, Rauf Sheikh, Farhat Abbas Shah, Ameen Hafeez, Rasheed Ali, Ijaz Manzoor, Jawwad Malik, Nadeem Zia, Zahid Ahmed, Fakhira Tehreem, Shahzada Irfan. Zahid Rafique Bhatti, Waqar Gillani, Shehrayar Warraich, Muneer Khokhar, Sharafat Ali, Rana Shahid, Ali Zafar, Awais Qarni, Muhammad Shafique, Arshad Shafique, Tariq Jamal, Mirza Naseer Baig, Azhar Maqbool, Muhammad Babar, Sabir Awan, Shahida Parveen, Huma Mir Hassan, Talha Anwar Zaidi, Siraj Qadri, Muhammad Hussain, Muhammad Obaid of Muslim Youth Wing, Salman Rasool, Saeed Aziz, Tahir Saleem, Sohail Butt, Imdad Qureshi, SM Aqeel, Awais Malik, Usman Saleem, Zain-ul-Abedin, Naeem Sarfraz, Muhammad Naeem, Muhammad Kashif, Waris Ali, Ejaz Rasool, Imran Rafique, Adnan Shabbir, Amer Riaz, Hammad Waheed, Abdul Qavi, Gohar Ayub, Usman Raza, Awais and others also attended the protest.
Samia Raheel said the JI was supporting Geo/Jang Group, as they were fighting a war of principles. She said those, who wanted a fight between state institutions, could be well-wishers of the country, which badly needed unity among all segments of the society.
Khalid Butt said he was arrested in 1978 by the martial law regime when he raised slogans against the US. “We should feel ashamed as Hamid Mir is now being treated as an US agent and given the title of a traitor,” he said, adding that they would not allow any curbs on independent media.
Jawwad Ahmed said he came to express solidarity with thousands of Jang Group workers, adding that media could not function as an independent entity until they were controlled by the capitalists.
Criticising Defence Minister Kh Asif, Iftikhar Shahid said it he (Asif) had any proofs against Geo/Jang Group for working against the army and the country, then he should produce them before the masses and courts. He said if Geo was punished only for promoting peace between arch rival India and Pakistan, then Nawaz should also be arrested as he had been very vocal on the very issue since assuming the premiership. The prime minister also deserved the title of traitor, if Geo was labelled as a traitor, he remarked.
Abdullah Malik said the government and the Pemra unlawfully shut down the most favourite channel of the country, as some powerful forces wanted to muzzle the media house for their vested interest.