Working class expresses solidarity with Jang, Geo, Hamid Mir
LAHORE: All Pakistan Trade Union Federation (APTUF) has condemned attempts being made to ban Geo TV and derogatory comments about senior anchorperson Hamid Mir in Pakistani media in a meeting Tuesday.
APTUF members at the meeting said Mir is the spokesperson of truth in the country. It has condemned Mir’s character assassination, saying it is highly disappointing and must come to an immediate halt.
The APFTUF said Geo/Jang Group is the biggest media house in the country and said attempts being made by rival groups and some elements to ban it will deprive the nation of press freedom. They said any ban on Geo TV is unacceptable to APTUF.
The working class members said that army and agencies are respectable but they should not be made sacred cows. The emergency meeting was attended by all trade unions of Lahore, railway workers and kiln workers. They said the working class and the sensible section of society stands by Jang and Geo.
The APTUF said press freedom is a strong pillar of democracy and no democratic system can function without it. They said whereas they respect the country’s armed forces and intelligence agencies; it is the right of every individual who claims to be harmed by these institutions to have their voices heard and to hold them accountable for their actions.
The APTUF said anti-Geo propaganda being aired on rival media channels is not only condemnable but also reveals the external influence of powerful institutions and corporations on Pakistan’s media outlets. The federation also expressed solidarity with Hamid Mir and his brother Amir Mir and their family during this difficult time.
Tuesday’s meeting at APTUF office here in Gulberg was presided over by APTUF General Secretary Rubina Jameel and attended by journalists and trade union representatives of Punjab’s journalist colonies, railways workers and brick-kiln labourers. All present expressed sorrow over declining press freedom in Pakistan.
APTUF Chairman Nasir Gulzar Ch, addressing the meeting, compared senior anchorperson Hamid Mir’s values of justice and truth to his father Waris Mir, and said Mir had gained enmity of those in power due to his representation of challenges faced by the downtrodden in Pakistan in his reporting. Gulzar said Mir’s character assassination by different groups is unfortunate and destructive for press freedom. He said despite the negative propaganda, Pakistan’s people stand firmly behind Hamid Mir and his constitutional right to free speech.
Speaking on the occasion, Jameel said Pakistan’s hardworking labour force supported Mir and his commitment to their issues. The APTUF secretary general said the power of the bullet had triumphed over all in the country and protests against Geo TV are worrying developments.
Jameel wished Mir speedy recovery and hopes that he will follow in the footsteps of his father Waris Mir and continue fighting for freedom of expression in the country. A prayer for Mir’s health was recited at the conclusion of the APTUF meeting.