LAHORE: Showing solidarity with senior anchorperson Hamid Mir and Jang/Geo, journalists, politicians, religious leaders and members of civil society vowed on Thursday to resist any move to ban Jang/Geo at any pretext.
They were speaking at a protest demonstration, held under the banner of Life Members Forum of Lahore Press Club at the LPC here. The participants raised slogans in favour of Hamid Mir, Jang/Geo and independence of media.
Jamaat-e-Islami Secretary General Liaquat Baloch, Senior Journalist Munno Bhai, Hussain Naqi, LPC President Arshad Ansari, Secretary Muhammad Shahbaz Mian, Member Islamic Ideological Council and Vice President of Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadit Allama Zubair Ahmed Zaheer, Allama Kazim Aftab Naqvi, senior journalists including Khawar Naeem Hashmi, Bedar Bakhat Butt, Khalid Farooqui, Maqsood Butt, Imtiaz Rashid, Irshad Ahmed Arif, Allama Siddique Azhar, senior actor Masud Akhtar, Taseer Mustafa, Farooq Chohan, Babar Waseem and others also spoke on the occasion.
Liaquat Baloch said his party had condemned the attack on Hamid Mir on the very first day and the Jamaat stance had not been changed even today. He said the attack on Hamid Mir was the attack on the independence of media, adding that powerful forces had given the media a strong message by attacking the renowned anchor of the country. He said the media had played very crucial role for democracy and independent judiciary and at this time all were standing with the journalist community.
The senior JI leader further said roles of the state institutions have been defined in the constitution and action should be taken against all those who violate them. Baloch said every institute should work within its constitutional framework. He demanded that Judicial Commission, formed to probe Hamid Mir case, should unveil the culprits who carried out the attack on senior anchorperson.
Liaquat Baloch said the country was facing multiple issues including peace talks, tussle between state institutions and Balochistan crisis at this time and the government should play a positive role in calming down the situation. He said his party would stand with journalist community if their economic murder was committed by taking action against Jang/Geo at this time.
Allama Zubair Ahmed Zaheer said no one would succeed in suppressing Jang/Geo saying his party would stand with the largest media house as it had paid heavy price for democracy, independence of judiciary and the media. He said the whole nation loves and respects the Army but the armed forces should also respect other institutions of the state.
Khawar Naeem Hashmi said if Jang/Geo was banned then democracy and journalism would also be sent packing in the country adding that the journalist community would resist every such move with full force.
Arshad Ansari said the community would not allow any one to ban Jang/Geo and would resist any move leading towards economic murder of journalists. He said attack on Hamid Mir was the attack on the whole media. He said journalist community would stand united to maintain their freedom.
Irshad Ahmed Arif said dictators like Ayub had also taken actions against some newspapers and the remaining newspapers supported those actions and the same practice was continuing in the country after six decades. He said media houses should not involve in such petty issues just to settle scores.
Our Bahawalpur Correspondent adds: Bahawalpur Union of Journalists staged a demonstration and lit candles for freedom of press at Fawwara Chowk here on Thursday.
The participants vowed that they would not allow anyone to close down Jang Group of Newspapers and Geo News channel. They were addressed by Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) central vice-president Ameen Abbasi, Bahawalpur Union of Journalists President Majeed Gill, Zahid Khan, Zahid Ali Khan and Imran Bhinder. Later, PPP District Information Secretary Muhammad Saleem Bhatti, along with many other socio-political activists, joined the demonstration.