"I Am Still Standing. Because Mir Shakil ur Rahman is," Says Jailed Editor's Son

Mir Shakil ur Rahman, the owner and editor-in-chief of Pakistan's largest media house has been jailed since March 12 in a 34-year old private property case. He was granted bail for a few days last month for the funeral of his older brother Mir Javed ur Rahman. However, this clemency was not granted in time for him to see the brother in his last days as he battled cancer.

The extension of MSR’s physical remand, yet again, led Mir Ibrahim Rahman, 39, to feel that “as a son and as your CEO” he had let the reporters and his father down.

But his father’s words gave him strength: “He said no matter what ziadti (injustice) they do, do not hit back in kind. Those words make me stand”.

Rahman told his son that he has all his life “shied away from recognition” even while also at times wanting people to “know of our family’s and our people’s sacrifices for journalism”. Now, he said, “everyone knows more than we would like to tell”.
The biggest win is to survive without becoming vindictive and not become that which we are fighting

— Jailed chief editor’s son after accountability court in Pakistan again extends father’s physical remand

“He said, look at the support people have given us, I could not have imagined this. This is all God’s work,”, said Mir Ibrahim.

Mir Shakil ur Rahman also urged his son to “make sure you are kind to our people and keep their morale up. Including those journalists who are not part of us but are connected with us as they love this profession too”.

Not only was his morale high, wrote Mir Ibrahim, “but he had a sense of calm now that I have not seen before”.

“Truly we are blessed to have each other in our lives and to have circumstances happen to us that help us see each other and recognize each other better. I see you all better. Truly in that respect everything that happens has a benefit for us”.

“I want to thank you all for the good fight. It’s only a matter of time, it’s a fight of nerves. MSR is in jail for upholding the highest professional values, we have to keep that identity alive”.

“In such a fight, the biggest win is to survive without becoming vindictive and not to become the enemy (person or idea) we are fighting against”, concluded Mir Ibrahim Rahman.

International media and rights organisations, governments and jurists have for weeks been calling on Pakistan to release Mir Shakilur Rahman, particularly at this time when attention needs to be focused on fighting the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Editors' note: Read our editorial on this issue here.

Beena Sarwar blogs at Journeys to Democracy. She is Editor Aman Ki Asha and curator South Asia Peace Action Network, Sapan @southasiapeace. Twitter @beenasarwar.