Jang group CEO granted bail by SC after 8 months in jail

Published November 9, 2020
The Supreme Court on Monday granted bail to Jang group editor-in-chief Mir Shakilur Rehman in a 34-year-old case related to 54-kanal land he allegedly acquired “illegally” in the tenure of then chief minister of Punjab Nawaz Sharif. — DawnNewsTV/File
The Supreme Court on Monday granted bail to Jang group editor-in-chief Mir Shakilur Rehman in a 34-year-old case related to 54-kanal land he allegedly acquired “illegally” in the tenure of then chief minister of Punjab Nawaz Sharif. — DawnNewsTV/File

The Supreme Court on Monday granted bail to the chief executive and editor-in-chief of Jang Group of Newspapers, Mir Shakilur Rehman, in a 34-year-old case related to land he allegedly acquired “illegally” in the tenure of then chief minister of Punjab, Nawaz Sharif.

The court granted Rehman bail against a surety bond of Rs10 million.

Rehman was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on March 12 in connection with “alleged illegal exemption of 54 plots (each measuring one kanal) in H-block of Lahore's Jauhar Town phase-II allotted to him being the holder of general power of attorney on behalf of Hidayat Ali and Hikmat Ali by the then Punjab chief minister (Nawaz Sharif in 1986) in violation of the relevant laws/rules”.

The Lahore High Court had earlier denied bail to Rehman, after which he had appealed the decision in the Supreme Court.

Last week, a two-member bench of the apex court referred Rehman's bail plea to the Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed for re-fixing of its hearing by a three-judge bench after Justice Umar Ata Bandial – who was earlier heading a three-member bench – recused himself from hearing the plea moved by the media tycoon citing personal reasons.

During today's hearing, Rehman's counsel, Amjad Pervaiz, informed the court that the Jang group editor-in-chief was arrested by NAB at the inquiry stage. He said even though the reference was filed against four people — then chief minister Nawaz Sharif, then director land department, then director Lahore Development Authority (LDA) and Rehman — nobody other than Rehman was arrested.

He added that NAB Chairman Javed retired Justice Javed Iqbal had not issued arrest warrants for director land department and DG LDA.

Explaining how the land was acquired, Pervaiz said the total land in question was 80 kanals and 18 marlas, purchased to build Mohammad Ali Jauhar Town. The owner of the land died and it was divided and transferred in 1985, he added.

The heirs requested the LDA to grant permission to start construction on the land in 1986, which was rejected by the then DG LDA, the lawyer said, adding that the official wrote to Rehman saying that under the land policy, his share equalled 54 kanal, 5 marlas.

"Not one rupee of the government was lost during this entire matter," he claimed. At this, Justice Qazi Amin asked whether NAB had raised the matter of the government accruing any losses to which Pervaiz replied in the negative.

Pervaiz argued NAB had not accused Rehman of withholding payment for the property he acquired, saying that the amount was paid according to the policy. "NAB's case is that the money should be paid according to market rates and not according to policy," he said.

Justice Yahya Afridi observed NAB had to determine whether the case was valid, according to the policy. The anti-graft body also had to disclose how many cases the accountability judge who heard Rehman's case previously had, he added.

Opinion

Let women be, control the man
Updated 11 Apr 2021

Let women be, control the man

Men need to be educated and then read the riot act. The enforcement of the law must be merciless in such cases.
Twixt torch & tray
11 Apr 2021

Twixt torch & tray

Some may say that the lawyers’ indignation is not without merit.
Behaviour bond
10 Apr 2021

Behaviour bond

States have turned the imitation of repressive laws into an art form...

Editorial

11 Apr 2021

Dissension within PTI

WITH the dust from the PDM’s implosion still not fully settled, the PTI is now faced with growing dissension from...
11 Apr 2021

Power to arrest

A SUPREME Court verdict announced on Thursday spelled out what might be considered a self-evident truth in any...
11 Apr 2021

Unequal vaccine distribution

IT is in times of crisis that we often see the best — or worst — of humanity. In this regard, the pandemic has...
10 Apr 2021

Greater tax burden

THE FBR’s tax target of Rs6tr for the next year under the IMF-mandated fiscal adjustment policies will increase ...
UK travel ban
Updated 10 Apr 2021

UK travel ban

Pakistan continued to allow passengers to arrive without quarantine requirements.
10 Apr 2021

IS in Mozambique

IT was not too long ago when the dreaded shock troops of the self-declared Islamic State group were rampaging ...