Friday May 29, 2020
Hearing of a plea seeking bail of Editor-in-Chief of the Jang Geo Media Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in a 34-year-old property case could not be held on Thursday due to the unavailability of Lahore High Court's division bench.
On the last hearing, a bench, comprising Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem and Justice Farooq Haider, had heard the bail petition and sought a reply from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) by May 28.
Meanwhile, the bench dissolved due to the transfer of Justice Naeem to Rawalpindi. A division bench, comprising Justice Muhammad Tariq Abbasi and Justice Farooq Haider, has now been formed to hear NAB-related cases, which will start functioning at the principal seat from June 1.
The NAB had arrested Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman on March 12 when he made his second appearance before its investigation team. The bureau alleged that he illegally obtained exemption of 54 plots each measuring one Kanal situated in Block-H, Johar Town.
He was sent to jail on judicial remand on April 28 by an accountability court till June 1.
MSR’s detention has drawn international condemnation and has been termed a classic example of how free media is being subjugated in the country.
The arrest has been classified as the eighth-most urgent case in the threat to press freedom, according to Time Magazine.
Paris-based Reporters without Borders, New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, and various other international organisations have termed MSR's arrest as an attack on press freedom.
Recently, The South Asia Democracy Watch has written to The White House, the Secretary of State, and members of the Senate and House members of the Foreign Relations Committee condemning the illegal confinement of Jang/Geo group Editor in Chief.