Smear campaign: Court issues non-bailable arrest warrants for ARY CEO, anchorperson

October 03, 2022

KARACHI: An Additional District and Sessions Court on Sunday issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Salman Iqbal, chief executive officer of ARY Network, and anchorperson Arshad Sharif for failing...

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KARACHI: An Additional District and Sessions Court (South) on Sunday issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Salman Iqbal, chief executive officer of ARY Network, and anchorperson Arshad Sharif for failing to appear in a case pertaining to running a smear campaign through a talk show, Power Play, against Jang/Geo Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. Prior to this, their bailable arrest warrants were issued but they neither appeared in court nor submitted the bail amount.

Jang Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was acquitted of a NAB reference on January 31, 2022, on merit by an accountability court. The reference was about a land purchase from a private owner in 1986. In the ARY talk show, Power Play, aired on February 1, while running a defamation campaign, the anchorperson ‘deliberately misinterpreted’ the January 31 judgment of a Lahore accountability court alleging that the court acquitted Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) case, due to the amendments in the NAB Ordinance in the year 2021, thereby receiving an NRO, rather than the case being decided on merit.

In fact, Jang Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was acquitted of the NAB reference on January 31, 2022 on merit by Honourable Accountability Court No 1, Lahore. While passing the judgment, the court apparently did not rely on the NAB Amendments added/amended in the year 2021 and gave its conclusive finding in para No24, of the said judgment.

The relevant para reproduced in the order read, “There is no supportive material with the prosecution to prove the involvement of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and his co-accused in this case and there is no probability of the petitioner/ accused and his co-accused being convicted, hence further proceedings in the case would be nothing but a futile exercise which must be curbed under section 265-K Cr.P.C. The court is competent to exercise its power under section 265-K Cr.P.C. where, taking available material as true, yet there is no probability of conviction or where charge appears to be groundless and the further process would be nothing but an abuse of process of law.”

It is pertinent to mention that on previous occasions, ARY London had repeatedly apologised for defaming the Editor-in-Chief. The Editor-in-Chief Jang/Geo submitted a private complaint against ARY CEO Salman Iqbal and anchor Arshad Sharif in the court of Additional District and Sessions Court Judge-XI (South). During the hearing of the complaint, the judge observed that the complainants have brought sufficient material against the accused and had made out, prima facie, a case for their under sections 500, 501 and 502 read with Section 499 of the PPC. The court summoned the accused through bailable warrants in the sum of Rs100,000 each to face the trial but they neither turned up nor deposited the bail amount.

Now the Additional District and Sessions Court Judge-XI (South) has issued arrest warrants against the accused and directed the Artillery Maidan SHO to arrest and produce them in court. The hearing has been adjourned until October 10.



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