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Newspaper editor released

November 20, 2007

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ISLAMABAD, Nov 19: An Urdu newspaper editor, who was picked up by the personnel of law enforcement agencies at the weekend, was released here on Monday evening.

Shoaib Bhutta, the editor of Daily Tulou, was handed over to a group of journalists some 500 meters away from the Cantonment police station at around 6:30pm.

Mr Bhutta was picked up by a group of eight people believed to be personnel of a security agency from his office last Saturday night.

Mr Bhutta, when contacted, said he was picked up from his office, blindfolded and taken to an unidentified place where he was kept in the same condition till Monday morning.

During the period he was not allowed to sleep and was fettered too.

The personnel informed him that he was detained allegedly on the orders of the Punjab chief minister and the inspector general of police.

The personnel also asked him why he wrote against the president and the chief minister, but they did not produce any material in this regard on his request.

The captors also inquired about people who assist the journalists in their ongoing movement, he added.

Mr Bhutta quoted the personnel as saying that their high-ups directed them to arrest him, besides checking his record.

Sohail Iqbal, the chief editor of Online news agency, told Dawn that the president of Rawalpindi-Islamabad Press Club Mushtaq Minhas asked him to contact the station house officer of the Cantonment police station and get the editor released.

He said that the SHO told him that Mr Bhutta was handed over to him on Sunday night. This was a very high-level matter and Deputy Inspector General of Police Rawalpindi himself supervised it, Mr Iqbal quoted the SHO as saying.

“He (Mr Bhutta) was released as he was cleared during investigation,” the SHO told Mr Iqbal.

Meanwhile, a group of five personnel wearing Punjab Constabulary uniform stormed the office of Daily Tulou located at G-7/1 Monday morning and seized all the office record and computer.

They also searched the office from top to bottom. However, the record and computer were also handed over to the journalists in the evening.