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Saturday Nov 29, 2014

Sentence awarded to Jang Group editor-in-chief against press freedom: CPNE, APNS

KARACHI: Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) and All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) Friday expressed deep concern over the illegal sentences awarded to Editor-in-Chief of Jang and Geo Media Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahaman and other media-related persons by the Gilgit-Baltistan anti-terrorism court.

CPNE President Mujeebur Rehman Shami and APNS President Hameed Haroon in a joint statement here said that under Article 19 of the Constitution the punishment was contrary to the press freedom.

The statement termed the Gilgit-Baltistan (empowerment and self governance) Order 2009 — under which judicial system has been devised for the area — against the basic human rights given to citizens in the Constitution, and said that illegal sentences given to the journalists in Gilgit-Baltistan are dangerous for the press freedom throughout the country

The joint statement said that though there are some basic human rights specified in the controversial order, but two important basic human rights given in the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan — given in Articles 10A and 13 — are not included in the order.

It is to be mentioned here that under Article 10A, it is right of every citizen that he should be given impartial and complete hearing in a criminal case, while under Article 13, a person cannot be tried for more than one time for a single offence. So it would be a violation of these two basic human rights if a Pakistani citizen, who is not a resident of Gilgit-Baltistan or is not present there, is punished for an alleged crime by shifting the hearing of a case there.

The joint statement stressed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to take immediate notice of the situation. They said that the prime minister has powers to cancel the punishment awarded by the anti-terrorism court and he must utilise these powers, otherwise such acts would be like a sword of Damocles’ hanging on the heads of Pakistani journalists.

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