Thursday, April 16, 2020
ISLAMABAD: Top Pakistani cleric and the chairperson of the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee, Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rahman, on Wednesday commented on the arrest of Jang Geo Media Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), saying the anti-graft body's laws were flawed in light of Islamic jurisprudence and international legal system.
Speaking to Geo News, Mufti Muneeb said under the Islamic law, the burden of proof rested on 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.
"The NAB," he added, "levels serious allegations but does not provide evidence when the court asks for it. It detains people then says it does not have proofs.
"This is a private matter and Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman did not hold any public office; [therefore] it does not fall under the NAB's jurisdiction," the cleric noted.
Mufti Muneeb said an ordinance allowing exemptions to the business community was recently passed. "Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman is a businessman; he, too, should be given exemption," he mentioned.
By detaining the Jang Geo Media Group editor-in-chief, the anti corruption watchdog "did not gain honour; in fact, it lost respect", he said, adding that MSR should be released.
"Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman suffers from different ailments. The case against Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman should be taken to the court and the rest left to the judge," Mufti Muneeb stressed.
Earlier today, leading religious scholar Mufti Taqi Usmani had raised questions on MSR's arrest as well, saying: "Keeping someone behind the bars without a case is against the Islamic principles of justice."
If MSR was ready to provide evidence of his innocence in court, there was no point in keeping him in detention any further, he added. "Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman should be released and the case against him pursued in court," said the scholar.
MSR's arrest by the NAB in a 34-year-old property case has been roundly condemned by many politicians, journalists, lawyers, and human rights bodies across the country.
Senior politicians from across the spectrum, 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.
Celebrity barrister Amal Clooney’s law firm, Doughty Street Chambers, has also filed a complaint at the United Nations (UN) against the "politically-motivated and arbitrary arrest" of MSR.