Friday Jul 31, 2020
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed has once again called for the release of Jang/Geo Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, who has been in the custody of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) since March 12.
Talking to "Naya Pakistan" on Geo News, Rasheed said he has asked Prime Minister Imran Khan again to release the veteran journalist.
"I am appealing to the Accountability Bureau as well," he said.
The railways' minister added he had met the prime minister twice and urged him to release MSR. “I am publicly requesting the prime minister to release him,” he said.
Rasheed’s full interview on "Naya Pakistan" can be watched at 8pm on Geo News tonight.
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 the standard operating procedures (SOPs) of 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.
The petition further argued that NAB had violated the 2019 businessmen policy introduced by the Government of Pakistan by arresting MSR. It said that the extension in remand of MSR by the accountability court hearing the case should be declared null and void, along with the decision to arrest him.
According to a Jang Group spokesperson, the property was bought from a private party 34 years ago and all evidence of this was given to NAB and legal requirements fulfilled, such as duty and taxes.
However, the petitions challenging the arrests were turned down, prompting outrage from those who have been following the case.
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.