Tuesday Jun 30, 2020
LAHORE: An accountability court in Lahore on Monday extended the judicial remand of Jang/Geo Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman till July 21, in a case relating to the transaction involving of a piece of land more than three decades ago.
The case was heard by accountability court duty judge, Jawadul Hassan as Accountability Court No 1 Judge Asad Ali, who was authorised to hear the case, was on leave.
The authorities did not produce MSR before the court due to COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs).
The Jang/Geo Editor-in-Chief has been in custody for more than 110 days in a concocted case. Moreover, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had filed a reference over a property deal, reached with the owners of private land 34 years ago.
The land was allotted according to the LDA rules and regulations, with the formal approval of the competent authorities, and in accordance with the LDA exemption policy at that time. All payments were made according to the government-approved rates, just like in the case of all other allottees. In the entire process, no law was violated, and no loss was caused to the national exchequer.
MSR was arrested by NAB on March 12 on trumped-up charges relating to property purchased more than three decades ago. A petition was filed shortly afterwards against the arrest.
An accountability court had then extended his physical remand, after which a separate petition was filed against the extension. The petition had argued that no reason was provided by the court for the extension in remand.
The original petition, filed by MSR’s wife Shahina Shakil, had stated that MSR had been cooperating with officials and the arrest was a flagrant violation of SOPsof the accountability watchdog.
The petition had requested that the court declare the arrest and abuse of the NAB chairman's authority, as the arrest was made while the case was still in the process of verification.
MSR's arrest has been slammed both locally and internationally as an attempt by a heavy-handed regime to suppress dissent and the freedom of speech
Originally published in The News