Protest against Hamid Mir attack, Geo suspension enters 46th day

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Attack on Hamid Mir damaged press freedom

LAHORE: Protests against attack on senior anchorperson Hamid Mir and the illegal suspension, displacement, distortion and closure of Geo TV Network across Pakistan continued for the 46th day on Tuesday in which a large number of journalists, members of civil society, representatives of labourers, workers of political and religious parties participated.

Carrying banners and placards, inscribed with slogans in favour of Hamid Mir and Jang/Geo, hundreds of protesters gathered here outside the Jang/Geo offices on Davis Road.

The protesters demanded immediate restoration of Geo transmission saying the channel is the voice of people and they cannot be denied access to newspapers and channels of their choice. They also expressed their serious concerns that those who were responsible for the attack on Hamid were still rooming freely and no one has been arrested so far even after the passage of over one and a half months.

They said it seems as if the incumbent government and the independent judiciary have surrendered themselves before the powerful establishment. The participants also condemned burning of vehicles, deployed to supply newspapers of Jang Group, and copies of Jang and The News in various cities of the country.

Among the participants were: Abdullah Malik, president Civil Society Network Pakistan, senior journalists – Khawar Naeem Hashmi, Wasif Nagi, Maqsood Butt, general secretary of Jang Workers Union Waseem Babar, president of Jang Workers Union Rukhsana Nazli, Baidar Bakhat Butt, Waheed Butt, Khalid Farooqi, Jamaat-e-Islami leader Farooq Chohan, Akbar Jatoi, Gohar Butt, Asim Hussain, Rauf Sheikh, Numan Wahab, Asher Butt, Amer Malik, Rasheed Ali, Farhat Abbas Shah, Mahmood Ahmed, Ameen Hafeez, Ijaz Manzoor, Jawwad Malik, Nadeem Zia, Zahid Ahmed, Fakhira Tehreem, Shahzada Irfan, Zahid Rafique Bhatti, Sheheryar Warraich, Muneer Khokhar, Sharafat Ali, Rana Shahid, Raja Arsalan Khan, Ali Zafar, Awais Qarni, Muhammad Shafique, Arshad Shafique, Tariq Jamal, Mirza Naseer Baig, Azhar Maqbool, Muhammad Babar, Sabir Awan, Talha Anwar Zaidi, Muhammad Hussain, Usman Saleem, Zainulabedin, Naeem Sarfraz, Muhammad Naeem, etc.

Abdullah Malik, congratulating Jang/Geo, said all anti-democratic forces have gathered to derail democracy and democratic system by punishing Jang/Geo, the largest media house of the country. He said Jang and Geo are the voice of millions of Pakistanis within the country and outside the country and they would not allow anyone to ban their favourite channel. He also condemned burning of vans and copies of daily The News and Jang in various cities of the country saying such dictatorial acts could not force the Jang Group to surrender before the powerful establishment as they are on the right side.

Khawar Naeem Hashmi condemned the sorry state of affairs saying the current scenario suggests that the government and the judiciary were not independent adding hidden hands were the only ones who were free and independent in the country.

Khalid Farooqi said the fight of journalist for justice and freedom would continue until the victory adding journalist community had the courage to fight the war for a long time. Farooq Chohan said curbs on Jang/Geo were curbs on the independent judiciary and democracy. He said his party always supported the truth and right and it would continue doing so in future. He expressed his hope that Jang/Geo would win this war of justice and freedom.

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