LONDON: Pakistani journalists affiliated with various media outlets and unions protested against the illegal detention of Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman, editor-in-chief of the daily Jang, and the ban on Channel 24 on Thursday.
The protest, which was attended by various Pakistani journalists and other human rights activists, including a British councilor, took place at the famous Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park.
Speaking to Geo News, Mushtaq Lashari, Honorary Alderman of Castleton and Chelsea’s Royal Borough of Chelsea, said: “We are here in the Speaker’s Corner to highlight the importance of freedom of expression. I want to say to the rulers of Pakistan. That this country has never accepted unnecessary restrictions on journalism.
“I have come here to protest against the illegal detention of Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman, who has been arrested in a baseless and unnecessary case. Even a murder accused can get bail, but Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman has to Has failed in this matter. “
Lashari added that Pakistan and the war groups were incomplete without each other, and if one was attacked, the other’s existence would be endangered.
Journalists chanted slogans calling for a free press in Pakistan and collectively rejected unnecessary restrictions on Pakistani journalists and newsletters.
Protesters demanded the immediate release of Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman, who has been in the illegal custody of the National Accountability Bureau for more than 200 days in a 34-year-old property case. Despite failing to prove wrongdoing in the Anti-Graft Watchdog case, MSR has failed to obtain bail.
Shaukat Dar, president of the Pakistan Press Club in the UK, said: “Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman’s illegal detention has been going on for seven months since then. This has infuriated the international journalism community. Then we journalists will also stand with our colleagues.
“Right now, all Pakistani journalists are protesting and demanding the immediate release of Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman.”
Another senior journalist present on the occasion said: “We belong to democracy, and we want our colleagues in Pakistan to enjoy these freedoms as well. We urge the government of Pakistan to allow the media to be free and fair against journalists.” Allow trials, including the case of Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman, to be withdrawn immediately. “
Addressing the protest rally, the journalists said that MSR was a journalist before becoming a media entrepreneur and was responsible for running the largest media group in Pakistan.
He said the MSR’s detention for about eight months was a reflection of its policies towards the current government and the media.
Talking further about the obstacles to freedom of expression in Pakistan, the protesters lamented that thousands of journalists had lost their jobs in the last two years alone.
Earlier, South Asia Democracy Watch wrote a letter to the White House, Foreign Secretary, and members of the Senate and Foreign Relations Committee condemning the illegal detention of Jang / Geo Group editor-in-chief.
The US State Department, the European Union and the German government have also questioned why Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman has been arrested without charge.
The arrest of Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman has caused a stir in Pakistan as well as in international forums. Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists have called the arrest an attack on press freedom in Pakistan.
This year, Pakistan dropped three places in the global Press Freedom Index to 142 out of 180 countries.
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