KARACHI: The administrative judge of Karachi-based antiterrorism courts remanded a senior journalist to prison on Wednesday in a case based on charges of fanning religious disharmony.
The Counter Terrorism Department said it had arrested Nasrullah Khan Chaudhry, a journalist associated with Urdu-language daily Nai Baat, from his house in Karachi’s Garden East on Nov 11. It accused him of fanning religious disharmony as some journals and booklets about Afghan Jihad and the Punjabi Taliban were found during the raid on his house.
After the end of his two-day physical remand, the investigating officer (IO) produced him again in the court on Wednesday. He said the provincial government had constituted a joint investigation team, which grilled the journalist on Tuesday.
The IO said as Mr Nasrullah was no more required for investigation, he should be sent to prison.
Ahmed Malik, the president of Karachi Press Club (KPC), informed the judge that law enforcement agencies raided the KPC on the night of Nov 8 and harassed journalists.
He further said the agencies raided the house of KPC member Nasrullah Chaudhry the following night and “framed him in a case about recovery of prohibited literature”.
The administrative judge sent the journalist to prison on judicial remand and directed the IO to file an investigation report by Nov 18.
The CTD has filed charges against the newsman under sections 11-F (i) of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 (a person is guilty of an offence if he belongs or professes to belong to a proscribed organisation), 11-W(i) (printing, publishing or disseminating any material to incite hatred or giving projection to any person convicted of a terrorist act or any proscribed organisation or an organisation placed under observation or anyone involved in terrorism) and section 7.
Our Islamabad Bureau adds: A demonstration was held outside the National Press Club to protest the raid on Nasrullah Chaudhry’s house. Afzal Butt, president of his own faction of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, led the protest.
Mr Butt said if the government did not take action to ensure such incidents did not recur, the PFUJ would initiate a nationwide campaign.
“We condemn this raid and see it as an attack on freedom of the press,” Afzal Butt said. “The PFUJ considers the raid on Karachi Press Club as an attack on all press clubs in the country.”
He called upon the Sindh government to take action against those involved in the incident. The office bearers of Rawalpindi-Islamabad Union of Journalists and the National Press Club spoke on the occasion. They said the authorities were trying to intimidate the press.
Published in Dawn, November 15th, 2018