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July 22, 2020

Accountability court summons Jang/Geo Chief Editor for Aug 5

Top Story

July 22, 2020

LAHORE: An Accountability court on Tuesday summoned Jang and Geo Media Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for Aug 5 in a reference pertaining to the purchase of a private land more than 30 years ago.

The court also issued notices for the same date to two former Lahore Development Authority officials --- Humayun Faiz Rasul and Mian Bashir Ahmad.

As the hearing commenced, presiding judge Assad Ali Khan inquired about the non-presence of the accused in the courtroom. The NAB prosecutor informed the court that only Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was in custody while co-accused Nawaz Sharif was abroad. He (the prosecutor) said that former LDA DG Humayun Faiz and Land Development director Mian Bashir were also not in the NAB custody.

The judge asked the prosecutor why was Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman not produced in the court? The prosecutor replied that the Editor-in-Chief was not produced owing to COVID-19 protocol. He said the authorities concerned had issued directives that the accused in custody shall not be produced before their respective courts till July 31 under COVID-19 protocol.

The court after hearing the prosecutor adjourned the hearing for Aug 5 along with summoning accused. The court has also extended judicial remand of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman for Aug 5. Previously, the NAB had filed a reference against Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and two former LDA officials. It is pertinent to mention that the Jang/Geo Editor-in-Chief is in illegal custody for over 130 days in a case which is of documentary nature. Moreover, the NAB had filed the reference over a property deal reached with the owners of the private land 34 years ago. The land was allotted 34 years ago according to the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) rules and regulations with the formal approval of the competent authorities, and in accordance with the LDA exemption policy at that time.

All payments were made according to the government approved rates, just like all other allottees. In the entire process, no law was violated, and no loss was caused to the national exchequer.