close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
 
March 28, 2020

Illegal detention

Editorial

 
March 28, 2020

It has been nearly three weeks that Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, editor-in-chief of the Jang/Geo media group, has been under the illegal and unlawful detention of NAB on trumped-up charges – with an accountability court extending his physical remand for another two weeks. That NAB has been showing highhandedness for long is not a secret but the blatant way in which Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was arrested and is being harassed is for all to see. In this particular case, first NAB encroached upon an area which was not within its jurisdiction at all. Most legal experts have for long been expressing concern and dismay at the way NAB has been acting as an institution over and above all others.

NAB has in the case of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman violated the basic principle that no arrest should be made when the investigation is in its initial stage. The fact that the arrest warrants were issued on the day the investigation was still to proceed tells a lot about the pre-planned manner it was all done. There was no formal authorization of inquiry which in such cases is a fundamental requirement. The entire case appears to have been put up just to target and tarnish the image of a person who has stood fast for freedom of expression in this country. The case is based on the flimsy grounds that LDA land was misappropriated. The hollowness of this charge can be gauged from the fact that the LDA is not even a party to this case. It was a private purchase agreement having nothing to do with the LDA.

Moreover, even with this dubious nature of the case, Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was still cooperating and appearing before NAB officials. Now it is becoming increasingly clear – if it wasn’t painfully so since the beginning – that this case is yet another one of the witch-hunts that seem to have marked NAB for some time now. The honesty with which this media group has been reporting NAB’s lapses or highlighting governance issues within the country have obviously not been taken well. We say the hallmark of a democratic country is a free press and the right of critics to raise their voice. Banning ads for certain media groups (such as Jang/Geo or Dawn), or going after journalists and media owners will never amount to much other than an even more lack of trust. Speaking truth to power has always been the pride of a free press. It is also what keeps a democracy flying high. Attempting to stifle voices will not do any good but only damage the image of the country and also its government.