An accountability court, hearing the private property reference against Jang Geo Media Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, on Tuesday extended his physical remand for 11 more days (April 18).
Earlier today, the court had adjourned hearing the case until the Lahore High Court decided a bail petition filed by MSR’s spouse on his behalf. The high court turned down the plea after hearing arguments, after which the accountability court also extended MSR’s physical remand.
During the hearing today, MSR’s advocate Amjad Pervez presented his arguments before the court.
In his arguments, he informed that the National Accountability Bureau had said that it wanted the Lahore Development Authority director general to have a face-to-face talk with the media group’s editor-in-chief.
“The DG LDA had earlier recorded his statement, then what is the need to have a face-to-face conversation?” asked the lawyer.
Pervez said that NAB had asked the LDA for a map. “What does MSR’s remand have to do with LDA either giving or not giving the map?”
Earlier while presenting his arguments, the lawyer told the court that his client has provided all the documents as required.
Advocate Pervez said that all the investigation was carried forward according to the law but now it is being turned into vengeance.
“NAB does not want to recover anything from MSR. According to the law, physical remand is allowed when a recovery is to be made from the suspect,” he said.
The lawyer further said that the then serving officers have recorded their statements with NAB and the authority has also taken all the record from Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.
LHC rejects bail
Earlier today, the LHC had turned down the bail plea filed on behalf of the Jang Geo editor-in-chief.
During today’s hearing, the prosecutor for the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Faisal Raza Bukhari, told the court that the bureau’s chairman had been informed of all facts regarding the case via video link. He added that the NAB chairman was being given all updates regarding the case and the investigation was being conducted on his instructions.
Meanwhile, counsel for the petitioner Aitezaz Ahsan argued before the court that his client should be granted bail as he was ailing and old. He added that MSR “was not running off anywhere” and that the court can ask for a surety bond for its satisfaction.
The lawyer also urged the court to ask for the video recording of the investigation proceedings against MSR.
NAB had on March 12 arrested MSR in connection with property allegedly bought illegally from a government entity more than three decades ago.
According to a Jang Group spokesperson, the property was in fact 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.
MSR’s arrest has been slammed both locally and internationally as the latest attempt by a heavy-handed regime to suppress dissent.