November 9th, 2020
The Supreme Court of Pakistan has granted bail to Jang/Geo Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman after spending eight months in detention in a case relating to the purchase of a property for more than 30 years ago. The court granted bail against a surety bond of Rs10 million.
Speaking to Voicepk.net, Amjad Pervaiz, counsel for Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, said the legal team was waiting for the court’s written order which had not been released till the writing of this report. He said they will submit surety bonds upon receiving the court’s written order, adding Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman will be freed from detention upon submission of the surety bonds that might take a day or two.
Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on March 12 for “alleged illegal exemption of 54 plots (each measuring one kanal) in H-block of Lahore’s Johar Town phase-II allotted to him being the holder of general power of attorney on behalf of Hidayat Ali and Hikmat Ali by the then Punjab chief minister (Nawaz Sharif in 1986) in violation of the relevant laws/rules”. Rehman’s legal counsels have consistently argued that he was arrested on trumped-up charges.
On November 9, the bail plea was heard by a three-member bench presided over by Justice Mushir Alam and comprising Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed and Justice Yahya Afridi.
Amjad Pervaiz told the court that the allotment of land had not caused any to the national exchequer. He said the NAB reference was filed against four individuals, but only his client was taken into custody, adding that the arrest took place when an inquiry was being initiated.
Pervaiz argued NAB had not accused Rehman of withholding payment for the property he acquired, saying that the amount was paid according to the policy. “NAB’s case is that the money should be paid according to market rates and not according to policy,” he said.Justice Yahya Afridi observed NAB had to determine whether the case was valid, according to the policy. The anti-graft body also had to disclose how many cases the accountability judge who heard Rehman’s case previously had, he added. After hearing arguments, the bench granted bail to Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman.
CPNE hails decision
Arif Nizami, President of Council of Pakistani News Editors, praised the Supreme Court decision of granting bail to Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman saying the arrest of editors and journalists on trumped-up charges is a condemnable step. He said an independent media, which is free of all kinds of pressures, paves the way for democracy, and economic and societal growth in a country. He hoped that such measures are not repeated in the country in the future.
سی پی این ای کے صدر عارف نظامی نے سپریم کورٹ کی جانب سے جنگ جیو گروپ کے ایڈیٹر انچیف میر شکیل الرحمن کی ضمانت پر رہائی کے حکم کا خیر مقدم کرتے ہوئے، انہیں مبارک باد پیش کی ہے۔ #MirShakeelUrRehman #JournalismIsNotACrime https://t.co/u3kU5xumNj pic.twitter.com/QJ4xl7imbm
— CPNE (@TheCPNE) November 9, 2020
Abdul Lateef Afridi, President Of Supreme Court Bar Association, also hailed the Supreme Court decision in a tweet saying the editor=in-chief finally has been granted bail.
Alhamdullah Finally Supreme Court of Pakistan granted bail to Cheif Editor of Jang Group #MirShakeelUrRehman#JournalismIsNotACrime
— Abdul Lateef Afridi (@ALateefOfficial) November 9, 2020