An anti-terrorism court in Karachi on Monday granted a two-day physical remand of journalist Nasrullah Khan Chaudhry to the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) in a case pertaining to alleged recovery of anti-state and hate literature.
ATC Judge Naimatullah Phulpoto directed the investigating officer (IO) to produce the detained journalist on November 13 and also submit a charge sheet on the next hearing.
Chaudhry, a journalist associated with Urdu-language daily Nai Baat, was detained by law enforcement personnel following a raid on his residence on Friday night.
On Monday, the CTD officials disclosed his arrest in a case registered under Sections 11W(i) and 11F(i) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, which pertains to printing, publishing, or disseminating any material to incite hatred, and offer support and hold meetings for a proscribed organisation.
The journalist community is continuing its protest against Chaudhry's detention, which the journalists’ representative groups describe as an attempt to justify the raid by the LEAs personnel on the Karachi Press Club (KPC) on Thursday night.
On Monday, IO Syed Ali Haider of the CTD produced the detained journalist before the administrative judge and requested for his 14-day physical remand for interrogation.
The officer informed the court that the detained suspect was allegedly an accomplice and facilitator of a notorious Al Qaeda operative named Khalid Mukashi, alleging him of giving Rs0.25 million to Khalid.
Meanwhile, in a statement issued later in the day, the CTD accused Chaudhry of providing financial help to Khalid, by giving him Rs0.25 million.
The CTD official further said that security personnel had also recovered a bag containing four copies of Nawa-i-Afghan Jihad, published in 2011, a magazine which promoted violence against the country and incited religious hatred.
In view of the initial investigation, the IO pleaded for a 14-day physical remand of the detained journalist, who is already in CTD's custody, for further investigation.
However, Advocates Mohammad Farooq and Syed Haider Imam Rizvi, the defence counsel for Chaudhry, vehemently opposed the IO’s plea for physical remand of the journalist.
They argued that Chaudhry was innocent and was picked up after participating in a protest outside the Sindh Governor House against the raid on the KPC.
"The news about Chaudhry’s arrest in a false case has been widely reported in the international media, bringing a bad name for the country as well as Pakistani journalists," the counsel deplored, and urged the court to dismiss the IO’s request for physical remand.
Turning down the plea for a 14-day remand, the ATCs administrative judge granted a two-day remand and directed the IO to submit the charge sheet against the suspect on Nov 13.
Meanwhile, the CTD has said that the raid carried out at the KPC last week was indeed conducted to arrest Chaudhry, who was present there at that time, but managed to flee from the scene.
The law enforcers apologised from the journalist community for raiding the press club, saying the operations were being carried out to protect the citizens of Karachi from any untoward incident, specifically in wake of the defence expo which is scheduled to be held later this month.
It is pertinent to mention that adviser to Sindh chief minister on information Murtaza Wahab had on Friday claimed that the intrusion of law enforcers in plainclothes into KPC on Thursday night was due to some "misunderstanding".
In a statement, the adviser said that initial inquiry into the incident revealed that the law enforcers went there due to “some problem in their GSM locator".