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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday granted bail to the Jang-Geo Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in a case relating to a property transaction that took place 34 years ago. Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman had been in the custody of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) since March 13.
The court observed that the case was “made with discrimination” and was “not appropriate”. A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Mushir Alam, accepted the bail plea filed by Mir Shakil–ur-Rahman against an order passed by the Lahore High Court (LHC) dismissing his post-arrest bail.
Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed were the other members of the apex court bench. Justice Yahya Afridi observed that the criminal law did not permit discrimination adding that the instant case was not made in a proper manner and it was not appropriate.
“There is an unpleasant observation regarding yourcase,” Justice Yahya Afridi asked the Additional Prosecutor National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Haider Ali Khan.
Justice Yahya Afridi observed that in the instant case many others had also made payment for the excess land as per the then prevailing policy in terms of Reserved Price fixed as such for the entire Johar Town Housing Scheme-Phase-II.
When the judge asked the prosecutor about this, he replied in the affirmative. “Then tell us whether you have taken any action against those people and why you did not file a reference against them,” Justice Afridi asked the prosecutor.
“You took action only against the petitioner,” Justice Yahya Afridi told the prosecutor adding, “As per criminal law, there is no discrimination. It is not proper and it is not appropriate.” Justice Mushir Alam asked the prosecutor if the anti-graft body had also issued notices to others to pay the additional amount.
Amjad Pervez, counsel for Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman, submitted that the NAB filed a reference against his client and other accused including former Chief Minister Punjab Mian Nawaz Sharif, the then Director General Lahore Development Authority as well as Director Land Development; however, only his client was arrested on March 12 and the same day an inquiry was authorized against him and the same day his arrest warrant was issued.
He, however, submitted that the NAB had started proceeding against Mian Nawaz Sharif under the Criminal Procedure sections 87 and 88.
Amjad Pervez further submitted that in the year 1982, the LDA acquired 180 kanals and 18 marlas of land for developing Johar Town Scheme and meanwhile the owner of the land died and the property was transferred to his legal heirs. Later on, the legal heirs executed the power of attorney in respect of the above land in favor of his client.
He further submitted that on June 4, 1986, his client filed an application with the LDA for the interim development and construction but the LDA declined the request.
Amjad Pervez submitted that the then DG LDA issued a letter to the petitioner that he might be granted exemption against the land and exemption letter was issued as well.
The counsel contended that the prosecution allegation was that the petitioner was only entitled to 30 percent of land and accordingly the petitioner’s entitlement was 54 kanals and five marlas and there was no dispute over this.
The counsel contended that the anti-graft body alleged that Mir Shakil had caused Rs143 million loss to the national exchequer and obtained illegal exemption of 54 plots of one kanal each in Johar Town Lahore.
Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed asked the counsel whether the anti-graft body had raised any question that the petitioner had caused any loss to the national exchequer. Amjad Pervez replied that not a single penny of loss had been caused to the national exchequer.
He contended that his client had obtained exemption in accordance with the law in 1986 after due process and no body questioned the same in 34 years.
Replying to a court query, Amjad Pervez informed the court that his client was exempted 54 kanals adding that an additional land of 4 kanals and 12 marlas was also given to him for which his client had paid the prevailing reserved price at the rate of Rs60,000/- per kanal and nobody could deny that fact.
The court asked the prosecutor if there was any outstanding amount against the petitioner to which he replied in the affirmative.
Amjad Pervez also read out the rules and regulations as well as the SOPs pertaining to the mode of payment.
The counsel said in the year 1986, the petitioner made payment of excess land as per prescribed reserved price; however, he said the NAB was stressing that instead of reserved price, it should have been paid the market price.
Justice Yahya Afridi asked the counsel to show the court the provisions whereby the petitioner had made the payment under the reserved price.
“Come to the policy whereby your client had made the payment under the reserved price,” Justice Yahya Afridi. Amjad Pervez read out the order of the DG LDA dated 26.09.1990 that ‘In future no reserved price, whether the excess area is over and above entitlement or ownership, shall be charged. In all cases involving excess area and similar other cases only market price, determined by the price committee shall be charged.’ The counsel said the policy of reserved price was changed in 1990 and before that reserved price was charged for excess area from all exemptees and allottees. He presented letters issued to other exemptees wherein reserved price was charged against excess land.
Replying to a question, he submitted that the NAB alleged that the petitioner had included two streets in the exempted plots, which was not correct. The fact, he said, was that these were the said 4 kanals and 12 marlas excess land.
“There were no streets in 1986 but farms land, while the master plan was approved in 1990. Then how could an allegation of including the streets into plot could be levelled?” Amjad Pervez questioned.
At one point, Justice Yahya Afridi asked the prosecutor whether the documents provided by the petitioner were true.
The prosecutor replied in the affirmative. Justice Yahya Afridi then asked the prosecutor whether they should grant bail to the petitioner adding that it would be better if he did not oppose the bail.
The prosecutor said they could give it in writing that they will not oppose the bail if the petitioner paid Rs143,500000 or gave surety of Rs10 crore and surrendered his passport to the registrar of the Supreme Court.
Amjad Pervez submitted that after 34 years, the Bureau took action on a complaint and arrested his client when he was present in the NAB Lahore office.
He argued that the Bureau did not have the authority to investigate the matter and it exceeded his jurisdiction. He submitted that no action could be taken against Mir Shakil under the NAB Ordinance, as the LDA had its own laws and relevant courts were entitled to hear the matter.
Amjad Pervez submitted that the NAB alleged that his client had not paid the amount in lieu of the additional land of 4 kanals and 12 marlas as per the market price. He informed the court that his client had already paid the required amount in 1987 for the said land adding that the said price was in accordance with the policy of that time.
“The said policy was for all and not only for his client,” Amjad Pervez submitted. He contended that his client had got approved the map from the LDA for construction. My client than built house and got completion certificate from the LDA in 1998 and started living in that house,” Amjad Pervez said, adding that nobody asked his client about any outstanding amount during all these processes.
He further contended that even if there was any amount outstanding under Section 7 of LDA Act 1975 against anyone, no criminal case could be made. At this, Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed told the counsel that his client was not an ordinary man but he framed public opinion in the country, while the case of NAB was that his client had used his influence in the instant matter.
Pointing towards the anchors and reporters of Jang Group present in the courtroom, the judge said they could not influence the court. “The court deals cases in accordance with the law and will not be influenced by the analysis of anyone,” remarked Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin.
Additional prosecutor NAB contended that Rs143,530,000/- was outstanding against the petitioner. In this respect, he cited a case regarding Pak Punjab Housing Society wherein the court had held that if the accused ensured payment owed to them, they could be granted bail.
Justice Yahya Afridi, however, interrupted and observed that the citation the NAB prosecutor was referring to was related to a matter that happened after 1990 whereas the case of the petitioner was related to before 1990.
The NAB prosecutor further submitted that if the accused paid the said amount in the court and surrendered his passport to the Supreme Court Registrar and continued with the pending proceeding in the trial court, then they had no objection to his bail.
Even the petitioner could deposit Rs12 or 10 crore,” the prosecutor submitted. At this, the court announced, “Bail granted” adding, “We will decide as to what amount is to be deposited by the petitioner.”
At this, the faces of Jang group employees sitting in the courtroom lit with happiness. Taking exception, Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin remarked, “Don’t clap in the court and don’t tell the court as to how it can do its work.”
Later the court granted bail to Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman. However, the court did not issue its written order till the filing of this report in the evening. It is pertinent to mention that when Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was arrested by the NAB in March 2020 in Lahore, he along with his wife had challenged in the LHC his illegal arrest as well as illegal detention by the anti-graft body and physical remand. The LHC had dismissed both the petitions against which two CPLAs were filed with the Supreme Court, which were pending.
In the appeal against the LHC verdict, Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman had questioned whether the LHC division bench had dismissed the writ petition and denied bail to him through gross misreading and non-reading of facts, the record, complete misconception of the applicable laws and the obvious ulterior motives apparent from the conduct of the respondents.
He had contended that his arrest and continued incarceration, pending trial was not only a violation of the principle of presumption of innocence, but it was also tantamount to punishing the petitioner without trial and, as such, was violative of the fundamental right guaranteed to the petitioner under Articles 9, 10-A, 14, 15 and 25 of the Constitution, and of his constitutionally mandated right to treatment in accordance with the law.
“Whether, in any case non-payment of a sum of Rs143,530,000 to LDA as price calculated on the basis of the current market value of the excess land (of 4k-12M) sold to the petitioner in the year 1986 could be made the basis for framing a case against the petitioner for alleged offence falling under any provision of NAO, 1999, without compliance of the mandatory pre-condition of 30 days’ notice as stipulated by Section 5(r) of NAO, 1999, and, in so far as no such notice was ever served upon the petitioner in terms thereof, the petitioner’s arrest and detention on this basis is void ab initio and violative of his fundamental rights under Articles 4, 9, 14, 15 and 25 of the Constitution,” Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman had further questioned.
Similarly, he had questioned whether denial of bail to the petitioner by the High Court, and thereby his continuous incarceration, inter alia, for alleged non-payment of purported dues to LDA, without there being any adjudication thereof by a competent court of law after observing due process, was not violative of petitioner’s fundamental right guaranteed under Article 10-A of the Constitution.
He further questioned whether the arrest and the continued incarceration of the Petitioner pending trial is not only violative of the principle of presumption of innocence, it is also tantamount to punishing the Petitioner without a trial and, as such, is violative of the fundamental right guaranteed to the Petitioner under Articles 9, 10-A, 14, 15 and 25 of the Constitution, and of his constitutionally mandated right to treatment in accordance with law as guaranteed by Article 4 ibid?
“Whether, in any case, non-payment of a sum of Rs143,530,000/- to LDA as price calculated on the basis of current market value of the excess land (of 4k-12M) sold to the petitioner in the year 1986 could be made the basis for framing a case against the Petitioner for alleged offence falling under any provision of NAO, 1999, without compliance of the mandatory pre-condition of 30 days’ notice as stipulated by Section 5(r) of NAO, 1999, and, in so far as no such notice was ever served upon the Petitioner in terms thereof, the Petitioner’s arrest and detention on this basis is void ab initio and violative of his fundamental rights under Articles 4, 9, 14, 15 and 25 of the Constitution?”, he further questioned.
Similarly, he questioned whether refusal of bail to the petitioner by the High Court, and thereby his continuous incarceration, inter alia, for alleged non-payment of purported dues to LDA, without there being any adjudication thereof by a competent court of law after observing due process, was not violative of the petitioner’s fundamental right guaranteed under Article 10-A of the Constitution.
Meanwhile, the APNS has congratulated Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman on his release on bail after eight months by the Supreme Court.
Hameed Haroon, President; and Sarmad Ali, Secretary General of All Pakistan Newspapers Society, said that finally justice had prevailed and Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman had been granted bail by the Supreme Court, says a press release.
Meanwhile, PML-N leaders hailed the release of Editor In Chief Jang Group and termed the decision a historic benchmark for freedom of media.
Talking to The News, Uzma Bukhari said the arrest of Mir Shakeel by the NAB was a move to gag the media. “Today, the Supreme Court gave freedom to the gagged media by giving bail to Mir Shakeel,” she said.
Ahsan Iqbal said victimisation of Jang-Geo Group, especially of Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, had finally ended. He congratulated Mir Shakeel for standing firm against the fascist government.
Rana Sanaullah said the “NAB-Niazi nexus” had kept Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in detention in a politically motivated case for the last several months without finding any proof or making any progress in investigation.
He said release of Mir Shakil will strengthen the confidence of public in judiciary. Marriyum Aurangzeb said that release of Mir Shakil on bail will free the media from the clutches of incompetent rulers. She said the government used every way to gag media and those who stood for free media were punished. She congratulated Mir Shakil for fighting for free media in country.
Attaullah Tarar said that Mir Shakil fought against the government and didn’t lose hope. He said Mir Shakil reached every forum and finally he got justice.
Meanwhile, former prime minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has congratulated Editor in Chief, Jang and Geo Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman over the bail granted to him by the Supreme Court. Talking to The News, Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani said that PPP always wanted rule of law and firmly believed in the freedom of speech.
Former Senate chairman Syed Nayyar Hussein Bukhari, while talking to The News, said that the bail granted to Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman reflects one thing that matter in which he was detained had to be investigated further. He said court grants bail, while keeping in view all the prose and cons of the matter. He said the decision was a welcome sign.
ANP Secretary Information and former senator Zahid Khan, while talking to The News, congratulated Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman over the bail granted to him by the Supreme Court. He said the present rulers had crossed all limits of victimisation and stated that the Geo Editor in Chief was kept in custody for month without any reason.
Meanwhile, former federal minister for information and Broadcasting Muhammad Ali Durrani congratulates Jang Geo Group and media workers on the bail of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. “We hope the judiciary would also dismiss the case against him based on political revenge” he said.
While, the journalists and workers of Geo and Jang Group on Monday observed and celebrated ‘Thanks Giving Day’ on granting of bail to Editor-in-Chief of Geo and Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman by Supreme Court of Pakistan after a long incarceration of almost eight months.
The journalists and workers of Geo and Jang Group gathered outside the offices of Jang and The News in Rawalpindi, which has been declared as a the “Freedom Street’ for holding the protest against the illegal and unjustified detention of Editor-in-Chief of Geo and Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman for eight months in a fake and fabricated case.
Addressing the workers of Geo and Jang Group, who gathered outside the offices of Jang and The News in Rawalpindi to express their jubilation over the granting of bail to Editor-in-Chief of Geo and Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, Secretary General Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists Nasir Zaidi said it has been proved that if the workers get united then they always succeeded in their struggle.
Chairman Joint Action Committee of Workers of Geo and Jang Group and President Jang Workers Union Nasir Chisti said it was the history of the workers of Geo and Jang Group that they always succeeded in their struggle. He thanked all the workers of the Geo and Jang Group for their unity in the struggle for the freedom of media in the country and for the release of Editor-in-Chief of Geo and Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.
President National Press Club Shakil Anjum said it was proud moment for every worker of Geo and Jang Group that Editor-in-Chief of Geo and Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman faced the illegal and unjustified detention but did not make a compromise on his principle stance of freedom of media in the country.
Secretary General RIUJ Asif Ali Bhatti said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman has spent an illegal detention for 8-months on fake and fabricated case. He said the RIUJ and PFUJ thanked all the civil society, lawyers associations, human rights organizations, political workers and labourer organisations for their support and to raise the voice in support of Editor-in-Chief of Geo and Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.
Ex-president PFUJ Afzal Butt said the opponents failed in their conspiracies against the Geo and Jang Group. He said the workers of Geo and Jang Group had written a new history of struggle with standing united for the release of Editor-in-Chief of Geo and Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.
Chief Reporter Jang Rana Ghulam Qadir said workers of Geo and Jang Group had shown their courage and support in the movement for release of Editor-in-Chief of Geo and Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.
Worker of Geo and Jang Group Amjad Abbasi said the granting of bail to Editor-in-Chief of Geo and Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman is a success of truth.
Worker of Geo and Jang Group Munir Shah said it was proud moment that workers stood united with Editor-in-Chief of Geo and Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in the cause of freedom of media in the country.
Malik Nusrat said it was success of workers of Geo and Jang Group.
Among other who were also present including senior correspondent The News Asim Yasin, Senior Sports Correspondent Jang Malik Shakil Awan, Raza Shah, Sardar Heera Lal, Kamal Shah, Naseerul Haq, Azhar Sultan, Aslam Butt, Athar Naqvi and other social and political workers besides the workers of Jang and The News.
Meanwhile, general public congratulated Editor of Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman on his release on bail. They stated that the Supreme Court of Pakistan should also punish the person who lodged a fake case against the Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.
Zafar Iqbal said now the person, who lodged a fake case, will be arrested. He said Mir Shakil lost his brother when he was in jail while the NAB is responsible for that. He stated that SC observations in todays’ bail grant hearing is proved that whatever NAB is doing was unacceptable.
Asad Ali said that free media for any country was very important and Mir Shakil was leading from front for free media which resulted in NAB case and illegal detention over eight month. He hoped that release of Mir Shakil would not be result of any deal and Jang group, Geo will continue exposing the government and opposition wrongdoings and voiced for the public issues.
Akbar Sheikh said that during the eight months of NAB detention no case was filed. This is just an attempt to silence and pressurise media groups to follow the lines given by the ‘rulers’. He said who will be held accountable for detaining Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman for eight months and lost his elder brother during this as well.
Ali Cheema said that the Supreme Court should also take notice of all such acts of NAB in which it was keeping the people in detention without any justification and proof. The Supreme Court granted bail to Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman is enough to prove that what NAB is doing in the name of accountability and being used for victimisation.
Meanwhile, an atmosphere of rejoice prevailed at the protest camp of journalists, civil society members, office bearers of media unions and trade union of Jang Group outside the Jang offices on Monday in Lahore after the Supreme Court granted bail to Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, who had been detained for the last 241 days under NAB custody.
The journalists and Jang employees had been protesting for 219 days against the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in a 35-years old property exchange matter in which neither any proof of charges was given nor was any progress in the investigation made during this period.
The protestors announced temporarily suspending their protest, warning that it could be resumed if PTI government did not desist from its policies of crushing media financially stifling the voice of free expression.
They raised slogans against Prime Minister Imran Khan for victimising Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman for exposing the corruption and bad governance of PTI regime. The participants termed it a blatant attack on media freedom and a conspiracy to close down country’s largest media group. They chanted slogans against the fascist PTI regime and condemned using NAB for media’s arm twisting. Sweets were distributed on the occasion.
The participants in the protest included Group Editor Jang Group Shaheen Qureshi, PPP central leader Chaudhry Manzoor, Peoples Lawyers’ forum leader Iftikhar Shahid, President Jang Workers Union Mohammad Ibrahim, General Secretary Malik Farooq Awan, News Editor of Pakistan Times, Zaheer Anjum, senior journalists Asim Hussain, Awais Qarni, Sher Ali Khalti, Shafiq Ahmad, civil society leader Abdullah Malik, Ms Ayesha Akram, Romeo Jalib, Aziz Sheikh, Shahid Aziz, Shamsi Baloch, Muhammad Ali, Akmal Bhatti, Afzal Abbas, Zahid Mehmood, Shahzad Rauf, and others.
Religious leaders also welcomed the grant of bail to Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman and lauded his unwavering courage in bearing the brunt of political victimization for such a long time.
They said absence of evidence to keep him detained by the NAB spoke volumes about the political victimization and warned that the government was bent upon gagging all voices of dissent in order to cover up its bad governance and corruption, and victimizing media and political opponent was a manifestation of that.
Jamiat Ahle Hadith Amir Senator Prof Sajid Mir said victimizing media owners and editors was the typical fascist tactics by the dictatorial, corrupt and incompetent regimes all over the history.
He said stifling media freedom amounted to a violent attack on democracy itself since without independent media no democracy could function.
Jamaat Islami Secretary General Amirul Azeem said ever since the PTI came to power, its leadership had laid bare the intentions of victimizing the opponents and free media.
He said unleashing NAB on the political opponents and the owner of largest media group in the country was part of the same strategy to impose a fascist, dictatorial rule in the country.
He said the curtailing of media advertisements and dues was meant to crush the media houses financially, which paid off in shape of thousands of journalists getting jobless and many TV channels and newspapers had to be closed down.
He said the Jamaat Islami had always condemned the arrest of Mir Shakilur Rehman and stood by all media outlets to strengthen the freedom of expression.
JUP Vice President Qari Zawwar Bahadur said the ill-will of the government was evident from the admission by the NAB lawyers before the Supreme Court that they had no concrete evidence against Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman to press for further detention. He lamented that the fascist rulers had pulled the country back from being a thriving democracy over several decades.
He expressed hopes that Jang Group and Geo TV would continue to function independently under the leadership of Mir Shakil.
Former federal minister and PML-F Secretary General Muhammad Ali Durrani expressed hope that the judiciary would also dismiss the case against Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman based on political revenge and victimization.
Durrani said Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman’s imprisonment for more than eight months had become a golden chapter in the history of struggle for press freedom and will always be remembered. He lauded the courage of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman for enduring detention with courage and refusing to let his institution and workers come under fire.
Besides many world capitals, media and human rights bodies had endorsed the statements of Amnesty International, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors (CPNE), Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Human Rights Watch (HRW) Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), Reporters Without Borders (RSF), South Asia Media Defenders Network (SAMDEN)/Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Supreme Court Bar Association, Pakistan Bar Association and other HR, lawyers and journalists’ organisations speaking for protection of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman rights.
International scholar and Institute Professor (emeritus) MIT, Laureate Professor University of Arizona Noam Chomsky, Nobel laureate and Professor of Economics and Philosophy, Harvard University, Amartya Sen, Mary Richardson Professor of History, Director, Center for South Asian and Indian Ocean Studies Tufts University Ayesha Jalal and Grandson of Mahatma Gandhi Rajmohan Gandhi who is Research Professor at the College of Education, former Professor, Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, US, and many other celebrated scholars and journalists and other noted names from the international academia also called for protection of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman rights. A statement they said: “The arrest of, the Editor-in-Chief of the Jang Media Group, has taken place without a free trial or a conviction against him. Not only has the trial not even begun, but no charges have even been framed against him.
Abid Hasan Minto, advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan, Dr. Adib ul Hasan Rizvi, SIUT, Karachi, Dr. A. H. Nayyar, physicist; retired professor QAU, Dr. Akmal Hussain, Distinguished Professor, Information Technology University, Lahore, I.A. Rehman, journalist, former editor Pakistan Times, former director HRCP, Iftikhar Arif, poet, Kamran Khan, journalist, Dunya News, Kishwar Naheed, poet, former head PNCA, Islamabad, Dr. Mehdi Hasan, Chairperson HRCP, Mohammad Hanif, author and journalist, Munizae Jahangir, journalist, Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy, nuclear physicist, Pirzada Qasim, poet.
Leading religious scholar Mufti Taqi Usmani also raised questions on the arrest of Editor-in-Chief of Jang and Geo Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman.
“Keeping someone behind the bars without a case is against the Islamic principles of justice,” said Mufti Taqi Usmani. He added that if MSR was ready to provide evidence of his innocence in court, there was no point in keeping him in detention any further.
Journalists from major media outlets and other notables spoken out in favour of the veteran journalist, who, local and international watchdogs have said, is being victimised for speaking truth to power.
Chairperson of the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rahman said NAB laws were flawed in light of Islamic jurisprudence and international legal system. Mufti Muneeb said under the Islamic law, the burden of proof rested with whoever levels any allegation.
If the plaintiff does not have arguments, the defendant should be asked to swear an oath, he said. The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has also pointed this out as well, he added. “According to Islamic and international justice systems, punishment cannot be awarded if a crime cannot be proven; however, a court can only award punishment if evidence is provided,” he said.