Media workers, joined by civil society, demand release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman
RAWALPINDI: The workers of Geo-Jang Group along with the political, civil society, journalists organizations, newspapers hawkers continued their protest on Friday against the illegal arrest of Editor-in-Chief of Geo and Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman. Similarly the protest camp at the call of the Joint Action Committee continued outside the offices of the Jang and The News demanding immediate release of the Group’s Editor In Chief.
Addressing the protest camp outside the offices of Jang and The News at Murree Road in Rawalpindi, the Secretary General Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists Nasir Zaidi appealed to the Chief Justice Supreme Court of Pakistan to take a suo moto notice on the arrest of Editor-in-Chief of Geo and Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman as he is in NAB custody to mute the voice of media. He said the freedom of media is linked with the free judiciary and supremacy of the parliament and none of the institutions could enjoy independence if the press is in chains. Similarly, ex-President PFUJ Afzal Butt appealed to Chief Justice Supreme Court to take suo moto against the illegal arrest of Editor-in-Chief of Geo and Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman. He said the arrest was aimed to Con weaken the Geo and Jang Group economically. Editor Reporting Jang Rana Ghulam Qadir said the media was in the crosshairs of the PTI government which has banned the advertisements of the major media groups rendering hundreds of media workers jobless.” Senior journalist of Jang, Abbas Alam said the aim behind the arrest of Editor-in-Chief was to stop the Geo-Jang Group from exposing the facts and truth before the people. He said the workers of Geo-Jang Group stood with their Editor-in-Chief and will continue their struggle till his release.
Secretary General RIUJ and senior correspondent of the Geo News Asif Ali Bhatti said the government should have announced releasing Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman when the prime minister appeared on the telethon.
Senior correspondent of The News Asim Yasin, senior cameraman of Geo News Shiraz Gardezi said the Editor-in-Chief never compromised on editorial independence.
The Secretary General Newspapers Hawkers Federation Rawalpindi Aqeel Abbassi said MSR never accepted dictation and said all the hawkers of the country wholeheartedly stood by with him.
PML-N MPA Zaibun Nisa termed the arrest of Editor-in-Chief of Geo and Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman as an attack of media and added that all the political and democratic forces of the country stood with the workers of Geo-Jang group. Senior leader of the PPP Rasheed Mir said Imran Khan should give credit to Geo-Jang group for populising him as the leader, but he instead went ahead to gag the press and persecute Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman.
PPP women leader of Rawalpindi Samera Gull said Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman is not only the beacon of light for the media but also a voice for the voiceless people through his Geo-Jang Group. PML-N leaders of Rawalpindi Tanveer Ahmed Sheikh, and Obaid Abbassi also spoke on the occasion.
The Chairman Joint Action Committee and President Jang Workers Union Nasir Chisti reiterated to continue the protest camp till the release of Editor-in-Chief of Geo and Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman.
Our correspondent adds from Karachi: The journalists, politicians, trade unionists and civil society activists converged outside the group offices in Karachi to demand immediate release of Editor in Chief Jang-Geo Group Mir Shakilur Rehman.
Speaking to the demonstration, Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz leader Sultan Bahadur Khan said that Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman is a brave soul like his father Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman, founder of the Jang Group, who cannot be subdued by any physical or mental torture. Khan said the long incarceration signifies that Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman did not compromise on his principles and refused to bow down to the government pressure or otherwise he would have been walking free by now. Calling out the so-called accountability campaign, he said the government has failed to remain impartial and is protecting those responsible for the inflation and looting of the national exchequer.
PML-N leader Shahid Rana said that his party will not abandon their support for the Geo-Jang Group and the journalist community in their fight for the independence of the media. He added that they will stand besides the action committee unconditionally.
The All Pakistan Newspapers Employees Confederation’s secretary general Shakil Yamin Kanga said that in the past also the governments tried to suppress the independence of Jang-Geo Group but they failed miserably and the PTI government will also meet the same fate. Kanga said that Khan’s government has left no stone unturned to turn the lives of media workers difficult but they will continue to struggle for the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and if need arises they will take to streets to denounce the curbs on the freedom of media.
Javed Press Union’s general secretary Rana Yusuf said that the attack on the Jang-Geo Group is a signal to the rest of the media houses that whosoever takes an independent line will be put behind bars like Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. The News Employees Union’s president Saeed Mohiuddin Pasha asked the government if it couldn’t see the suspects within its own ranks who looted the common people by creating sugar and wheat crisis and questioned why weren’t they arrested yet.
Newspaper: The News