LONDON: Eight Afghan journalists who worked for the BBC broadcaster won a legal challenge on Monday against Britain’s refusal to relocate them from Afghanistan, which they said put them at high risk of being killed by the Taliban rulers.

The journalists’ lawyers told London’s High Court in December that the government had “betrayed the debt of gratitude” owed to them by refusing to relocate them after the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in Aug 2021.

Representatives for the government had argued that none of the eight were eligible for relocation under its Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP) programme.

David Blundell, a lawyer for the Ministry of Defence, said the Taliban’s perception that the BBC is a part of the British government was irrelevant. But Judge Peter Lane said in a written ruling that the perception was “clearly relevant” to the risks the journalists faced.

The decision on whether to relocate the eight will now have to be taken again, which their lawyers said would have be done within three weeks. The journalists were embedded with military personnel and worked on British government-funded projects, the lawyers said.

As part of their work, they spoke out against the Taliban and exposed corruption and abuse, resulting in numerous threats and attacks by Taliban fighters, the lawyers added. Erin Alcock, who represented the journalists, said her clients have been “living in fear for over 18 months”.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence said the department does not comment in detail on specific legal cases, but was considering potential next steps.

Published in Dawn, February 14th, 2023

Opinion

Editorial

Debt trap
Updated 30 May, 2024

Debt trap

The task before the government is to boost its tax-to-GDP ratio to the global average by taxing the economy’s untaxed and undertaxed sectors.
Foregone times
30 May, 2024

Foregone times

THE past, as they say, is a foreign country. It seems that the PML-N’s leadership has chosen to live there. Nawaz...
Margalla fires
30 May, 2024

Margalla fires

THE Margalla Hills — the sprawling 12,605-hectare national park — were once again engulfed in flames, with 15...
First steps
Updated 29 May, 2024

First steps

One hopes that this small change will pave the way for bigger things.
Rafah inferno
29 May, 2024

Rafah inferno

THE level of barbarity witnessed in Sunday’s Israeli air strike targeting a refugee camp in Rafah is shocking even...
On a whim
29 May, 2024

On a whim

THE sudden declaration of May 28 as a public holiday to observe Youm-i-Takbeer — the anniversary of Pakistan’s...