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Thursday April 18, 2024

Five journalists, writer acquitted of terrorism charges

By Imdad Soomro & Imtiaz Hussain
April 16, 2022

KARACHI: Five journalists and a renowned writer were declared innocent by an Additional Sessions Court, Sukkur, in a case registered against them by the Sukkur police under the sections of waging war against the country and the Anti-Terrorism Act.

In March, 2021, the Sukkur Police had registered the said case against journalists, writers and political workers for protesting against the alleged extrajudicial killing of Irfan Jatoi in Sukkur’s SITE area Police Station.

Irfan Jatoi, a student of the Sindh University, was killed in an alleged encounter by the Sukkur Police. Political parties and activists associated with the civil society, Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM), Jeay Sindh Mahaz, Rawadari Tehrik, Servants of Sindh and others protested in front of the office of Additional Inspector General of Police (AIG), Sukkur.

The protesters were demanding an impartial inquiry into the incident and the journalists were covering the protest. On the complaint of Sub-Inspector Mir Hassan Shar of the SITE Police Station, the police on March 15, 2021, registered a case against the protesters and journalists under sections 341, 120, 121, 123, 221, 431, 114, 120-B of the Pakistan Penal Code and 11 EE and 7 ATA of Anti-Terrorism Act. The cases were registered against bureau chief of Samaa TV Sahil Jogi, bureau chief of Abtak TV Imdad Phulpoto, Rustam Indhar of daily Awami Awaz, his son journalist Irshad Rustam associated with daily Koshish, and journalist Adam Shanbani of TV Today, renowned writer and intellectual Ustad Khalid Chandio, Dr Niaz Kalani of JSQM, Riaz Chandio of JSM, Ghulam Nabi, Sajid Jatoi and brothers of deceased student Irfan Jatoi.

Earlier, the charge sheet of the case was submitted to the Anti-terrorism Court, Sukkur, but the court returned it to the Sessions Court, where after the proceeding of one year, listening to the arguments of both sides, witness testimony and examining the proof of prosecution side, Additional Sessions Judge, Sukkur, Mumtaz Ali Solangi, declared all the five journalists and writer Khalid Chandio innocent.However, the other co-accused of the case, nationalist workers and civil society activists will face the trial.