Pakistan, media, Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman, arrest, NAB

Why was Pakistan media tycoon Mir Shakeel arrested?

The owner of Jang and Geo Group of Pakistan, Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman, was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on March 12, in a case related to land acquisition.

According to the NAB, Mr Rahman has been arrested in connection with “alleged illegal exemption of 54 plots (each measuring one kanal) in H-block of Jauhar Town phase-II allotted to him being the holder of general power of attorney on behalf of Hidayat Ali and Hikmat Ali by the then Punjab chief minister (Nawaz Sharif in 1986) in violation of the relevant laws/rules”.

In a statement, NAB said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman would be presented before an accountability court in Lahore on Friday (today) to obtain his physical remand.

“We will present evidence against him in court,” it said and asked the Jang group to refrain from levelling baseless allegations against NAB.

Meanwhile, national and international media bodies, civil society and human rights bodies have condemned the arrest of Jang/Geo Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman and demanded his immediate release.

“Pakistani authorities should immediately release Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, editor-in-chief of the Jang Media Group, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in a statement.

“Pakistan’s National Accountability Bureau should immediately release Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and drop the obviously drummed-up case against him,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “This arrest over a 34-year-old land deal makes a mockery of Pakistan’s claim to be a democracy that upholds freedom of the press.”

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has also expressed grave concern over the arrest of the Jang/Geo Group editor-in-chief and demanded his immediate release. “It is clear that Shakilur #Rahman’s arrest has absolutely no legal ground, and is rather an act of harassment against all #JangGroup journalists because they refuse to toe the gvt’s line. @RSF_inter calls for his immediate release!” it said in a Tweet.




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