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April 18, 2020

34-year-old private deal: NAB to present Jang-Geo editor-in-chief before court today

Top Story

April 18, 2020

LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) will present Jang-Geo Media Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman (MSR) before an accountability court today (April 18) in a 34-year old private property case.

The court had extended the editor-in-chief’s physical remand on April 7 till today. During the hearing on April 7, MSR’s counsel Amjad Pervez presented his arguments before the court. He told the court the NAB had said it wanted the Lahore Development Authority director general to have a face-to-face talk with the media group’s editor-in-chief.

The counsel asked: “The DG LDA had earlier recorded his statement, then what is the need to have a face-to-face conversation? The counsel said the NAB had asked the LDA for a map. “What does MSR’s remand have to do with LDA either giving or not giving the map?” Earlier while presenting his arguments, the lawyer told the court his client had provided all the documents as required.

Advocate Pervez said all the investigation was carried forward according to the law but now it was being turned into vengeance. “NAB does not want to recover anything from MSR. According to the law, physical remand is allowed when a recovery is to be made from the suspect,” he said.

The lawyer further said the then serving officers had recorded their statements with the NAB and the authority had also taken all the record from Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. The NAB had on March 12 arrested MSR when he appeared before the bureau on a call-up notice.

According to a Jang Group spokesperson, the property was in fact bought from a private party 34 years ago and all evidence to this effect was given to the NAB and legal requirements fulfilled, such as duty and taxes.

According to the spokesperson, the appearance before NAB was in relation to a call-up notice for the verification of the complaint, yet an arrest was made.

“In the past 18 months, NAB has sent our reporters, producers, and editors — directly and indirectly — over a dozen notices, threatening a shutdown of our channels (via PEMRA) due to our reporting and our programmes on NAB,” said the spokesperson. The arrest has been condemned in Pakistan and abroad. Politicians, parliamentarians, religious scholars, lawyers, intellectuals, human rights organisations, civil society and journalists’ organisations — national and international — have viewed the arrest as the latest attempt by a heavy-handed regime to suppress dissent. Media workers, accompanied by civil society and people from various walks of life, have been consistently protesting the arrest since March 12.