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British Pakistani Lawyers Forum says NAB victimising Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman

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LONDON: The spokesperson of British Pakistani Lawyers Forum (BPLF) and former teacher of Prime Minister Imran Khan at the Aitchison College condemned the unjust and unjustifiable arrest of Geo and Jang’s Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in a private property case nearly four decades old.

Veteran lawyer Naseem Ahmed Bajwa, who has been practicing in London for over three decades and taught to PM Imran at the Aitchison College, said that the legal fraternity was “in no doubt at all that Mir Shakil-ur-Raman has been wrongly, unfairly, and unjustifiably detained by the NAB on a charge which, reportedly, is 35-years-old”.

Bajwa, whose son Ali Bajwa became the youngest QC of the country a few years ago, said that MSR is “the most distinguished person on the scene of print and electronic media in Pakistan”.

“We have been assured by his legal team that not only was he fully cooperating with the investigation team but under the law of Pakistan he deserves to be released on bail as soon as possible. The circumstances surrounding the arrest of the doyen of journalism in Pakistan on dubious and questionable charges reek of malice, vindictiveness and yet another nefarious attempt at muzzling the brave voice of free press in Pakistan.”

Bajwa had taken up the case of Model Town victims on behalf of Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri and held a press conference in London with Qadri where he had announced to approach the United Nations if justice was not provided to the victims.

The BPLF leader said that he had spoken to several veteran lawyers in Pakistan including those linked with PTI and all of them had the same view that MSR’s arrest is a brazen act of political victimisation and score-settling and collusion of PM Imran’s government and the NAB was evident.

He said the forum “strongly endorses the views expressed by three senior jurists and respected legal experts including Hamid Khan, Kamran Murtaza and Ali Ahmed Kurd on the subject”.

After careful consideration, all the members of the forum, both in the UK and Pakistan, unanimously adopted a brief but unequivocal resolution and authorised Barrister Bajwa in London to issue a condemnation of the arrest and demand MSR’s immediate release.

Bajwa said that he doesn’t consider it appropriate to comment on the merits or credibility of the serious allegation against the distinguished detainee MSR but it looked clear to the legal fraternity that his arrest broke NAB’s own rules and it reeked of bias.

Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) Vice Chairman Abid Saqi has said the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was done to silence the voice of Jang and Geo Group.

Pakistan Bar Council Member Azam Nazir Tarar has criticised the NAB for arresting MSR at a stage where the complaint has not been verified yet. He said the Jang and Geo Group is being punished for standing by the democratic forces in the country.

Former president Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Amanullah Kanrani has termed the arrest of MSR against basic rights.

Rashid A Rizvi, a former president of SCBA, said that NAB could make an arrest only when someone tries to flee abroad or try to tamper with any record of any case. International journalists and human rights organisations, lawyers’ bodies, British and American governments have also condemned the arrest of Rahman demanding end of political victimization by the government.

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