Monday Jun 15, 2020
LAHORE: An accountability court on Monday extended Jang/Geo Media Group's Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman's judicial remand till June 29.
Judge Jawad ul Hasan conducted proceedings of the reference against MSR. NAB prosecutor Asim Mumtaz and MSR's attorney were present during the hearing.
"We have come to know that Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman is ill?" inquired the court.
"Yes, he is undergoing treatment," replied MSR's attorney.
Postponing his judicial remand till June 29, the court sought a report of MSR's reference from NAB.
Ninety-four days have passed since the Jang/Geo Media Group's Editor-in-Chief has been arrested but a case has yet to be registered against him.
MSR was arrested on March 12 in a fake, concocted case pertaining to the purchase of a property 34 years ago.
Since then, his arrest has been condemned by journalists and international media freedom bodies around the world.
The International Press Institute (IPI) had expressed concerns over the arrest of Jang/Geo Media Group's Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, noting that despite charges have yet to be filed against him, the Lahore High Court (LHC) denied him bail on April 7.
“The handling of Mr Rahman’s case by the [National Accountability Bureau] NAB is particularly alarming, as it has come at a time when independent media in Pakistan is under severe political and financial pressure," IPI's Deputy Director Scott Griffen had written in a letter to PM Imran Khan.
“The government has stopped publishing advertisements in several independent media outlets, including the Jang group, starving them of much-needed revenue,” he continued.
The IPI had highlighted that recent developments show press freedom continues to be under severe threat in Pakistan and that it was worrying that the “continued persecution of the independent media is designed to convey a clear message – that any criticism of the government and the ruling party will have dire consequences for the survival of an independent press in Pakistan.”
Carrying banners and shouting slogans demanding the release of Jang/Geo Media Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, workers of Pakistan's largest media group continued their protest against MSR's unlawful arrest on Saturday.
Protesters urged the government to release MSR immediately and withdraw cases against him. They chanted slogans against the nexus of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the PTI government.
Shaheen Qureshi, editor Jang Group, said the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman is an attack on independent media. He asked opposition parties to raise their voice and said silence is a crime.
Free media and democracy go hand-in-hand and the government is trying to weaken democracy by curbing media, he added. Qureshi demanded that the government pay dues of media so that media workers could be paid their salaries.