LAHORE: Protest against illegal suspension of Geo TV Network and the attack on senior anchorperson Hamid Mir continued here on Tuesday. A large number of people from all walks of life including journalists, workers of political and religious parties and representatives of labour unions participated in the demonstration.
The participants demanded restoration of Geo TV Network throughout the country immediately saying their popular channels particularly Geo News had been shut illegally by cable operators on the wish of some hidden hands. They said it was highly unfortunate that over a month and a half has been passed since Hamid Mir was attacked in Karachi but his attackers are still at large.
The protesters, carrying placards and banners inscribed with slogans in favour of Jang/Geo and Hamid Mir, gathered at the Davis Road, outside Jang/Geo offices. The protesters said the media played a leading role in restoring democracy in the country, along with political parties and members of civil society. They said under any circumstances, nobody would be allowed to ban/suspend Jang/Geo.
Among the prominent participants were Jamaat-e-Islami parliamentary leader in Punjab Assembly Dr Waseem, Awami National Party central secretary Ihsan Wayen, Pak-Australia Friendship President Arshad Naseem, senior journalists Khawar Naeem Hashmi, Maqsood Butt, Sadia Sharif, Ameen Hafeez, Jang Workers Union President Rukhsana Nazli, Fakhira Tehreem, Imdad Qureshi, Jang Workers Union General Secretary Waseem Babar, PFUJ Senior Vice-President Ijaz Mirza, Zahid Rafique Bhatti, Sabir Awan, Zahid Ali Khan, Ijaz Manzoor, Ijaz Mirza, Farooq Chohan, Naseer Baig, Azhar Maqbool, Sadia Aziz, Huma Mir Hassan, Naveed Aslam, Civil Society Pakistan President Abdullah Malik, Sohail Butt, Muneer Khokhar, Asim Naseer, Waheed Butt and Adnan Malik.
Dr Waseem said as the JI believed in democracy and freedom of media, its leaders were the first one who reached the hospital where Hamid Mir was undergoing his treatment after the attack. JI, he added, demanded of the law-enforcement and security agencies to arrest the culprits, who carried out the attack on Hamid Mir. He said unlawful suspension of Jang/Geo would not be acceptable and the government should take effective measures to restore the transmission of the Geo TV Network throughout the country immediately. He said the media should play its role in more responsible way keeping the Islamic teachings in focus as well. He also condemned burning of copies of Jang/The News by unknown persons, the other day.
Ihsan Wayen said if someone made a mistake it doesn’t mean he/she should be hanged or killed or it should be banned. He said the people are missing the transmission of Geo and Jang newspapers as they are liked by majority of the people across the country being the most favourite newspapers and channels.
He said the ANP demanded immediate restoration of Geo transmission and public access to Jang/The News newspapers throughout the country. On the occasion, Arshad Naseem said Jang/Geo issue should not be treated as Pak-India issue saying Geo is not only the voice of people living inside Pakistan but of those Pakistanis living abroad as well.
Ijaz Mirza said if writing and speaking truth was a crime in the country then the whole journalist community will be committing this crime in the future as well. He said those who demand a ban on Jang/Geo were the enemy of independent media in the country. He said the whole journalist community is standing with Jang/Geo at this crucial time and would not accept any ban on any channel or newspaper.
Abdullah Malik said conspiracies are being hatched to damage the independent media of the country but the civil society of Pakistan would not allow this to happen. He said independent media is the safeguard of democracy, fundamental rights and human rights. He said under any pretext, no one would be allowed to ban/suspend Geo, the most favourite channel of the country.
Muhammad Yasin said the apology which has been tendered by the management of Jang/Geo should be accepted and the matter should not be dragged any more.Asim Naseer, speaking on the occasion, thanked those cable operators who have restored Geo transmission in their respective areas, adding other operators should also follow suit.
Babar Waseem said those running malicious campaigns against Jang/Geo would eat dust at the end as workers of the largest media house would foil every move of the opponents. He said Jang is the most readable newspaper and Geo is most viewed channel of the country and would remain at the top due to their independent journalism and news contents.