LAHORE: An accountability court on Saturday instructed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to decide as per law an application by family of Jang group’s editor-in-chief Mir Shakilur Rehman for visiting him on a daily basis during physical remand in a case about 54-kanal land allegedly allotted to him by then Punjab chief minister Nawaz Sharif in 1986.

The media mogul’s son Mir Ibrahim, mother and wife filed the application which said that Mr Rehman, being old and unwell, needed regular medication and care.

The applicants said Mr Rehman could suffer irreparable loss if they were not allowed to see him on a daily basis during captivity.

Presiding Judge Chau­dhry Ameer Muhammad Khan ordered the investigating officer to decide the application strictly in accordance with law and as per the policy of NAB.

The bureau has accused Mr Rehman of illegally obtaining exemption for 54 plots, each of them measuring one kanal and situated in Block-H, Johar Town. It said the allotment of the land had been done in connivance with then chief minister Sharif in violation of the existing exemption policy and the law for monetary gains.

Demonstrations held in Mingora, Swabi against the media mogul’s arrest

Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, the counsel for Mr Rehman, argued before the court that the transaction of the land took place between the suspect and its real owners and it could not be taken as an offence as exemption was their right under the policy for development of Johar Town.

He urged the court to discharge his client from the case under Section 3 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

NAB will produce the media magnate before the court on March 25 after expiry of his 12-day physical remand.

Meanwhile, journalists held a demonstration in Mingora against Mr Rehman’s arrest and steps taken by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority against his Geo channel.

Led by Swat Press Club’s chairman Shahzad Alam, Swat Union of Journalists president Mahboob Ali and other senior journalists, the demonstrators assembled in front of the club and chanted slogans against NAB and the federal government.

Members of the Swabi Electronic Media Association, along with leaders and activists of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl and Jamaat-i-Islam, held a demonstration against Mr Rehman’s arrest by NAB.

The journalists and leaders of the parties gathered at the district headquarters and marched to Karnal Sher Khan Chowk, where they raised slogans against the arrest.

Published in Dawn, March 15th, 2020