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August 1, 2020

Bilawal expresses solidarity with family of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman

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August 1, 2020

KARACHI: PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari paid a visit on Friday to the Karachi residence of Jang/Geo Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and expressed solidarity with his family in the difficult circumstances they are faced with.

Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman has been illegally incarcerated by the National Accountability Bureau since March 12 in a concocted case dating back to 1986 related to a property transaction.

Bilawal also extended his condolences to Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman's mother over the recent death of her daughter in London and the passing away earlier of son Mir Javed-ur-Rahman.

He prayed that the souls of the deceased be elevated to the highest ranks in heaven. The PPP chairman also spoke to and expressed his sympathies with Mir Ibrahim, the son of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. "I will continue to pray that God grant the entire family patience and strength in these trying times," said Bilawal.

Earlier in the day, Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed reiterated his call for the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

Talking to "Naya Pakistan" on Geo News, Rasheed said he has asked Prime Minister Imran Khan again to release the veteran journalist.

"I am appealing to the Accountability Bureau as well," he said.

Arrested on trumped-up chargesMir Shakil-ur-Rahman was arrested by NAB on March 12 on trumped-up charges relating to property purchased more than three decades ago. A petition was filed shortly afterwards against the arrest.

An accountability court had then extended his physical remand, after which a separate petition was filed against the extension. The petition had argued that no reason was provided by the court for the extension in remand.

The original petition, filed by Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’s wife Shahina Shakil, had stated that Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman had been cooperating with officials and the arrest was a flagrant violation of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) of the accountability watchdog.

The petition had requested that the court declare the arrest and abuse of the NAB chairman's authority, as the arrest was made while the case was still in the process of verification.

The petition further argued that NAB had violated the 2019 businessmen policy introduced by the Government of Pakistan by arresting Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. It said that the extension in remand of MSR by the accountability court hearing the case should be declared null and void, along with the decision to arrest him.

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

However, the petitions challenging the arrests were turned down, prompting outrage from those who have been following the case.

Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman's arrest has been slammed both locally and internationally as an attempt by a heavy-handed regime to suppress dissent and the freedom of speech.