Leading businessmen demand release of Jang-Geo Editor-in-Chief

ISLAMABAD: Leading businessmen and office-holders of different chambers of commerce have condemned the arrest of Editor-in-Chief of Jang and Geo Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and demanded his immediate release.

Former senior vice president of FPCCI, Secretary General United Business Group (SZ) and Chairman Baig Group Mirza Ikhtiar Baig said the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman has formed a six-member committee to stop harassment of business community and to restore their confidence in economic revival. He said the committee comprising businessmen and NAB officials has been given the task of recommendation of cases of business community to NAB chairman before arrest. He said the case of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman should also be referred to the said committee and he must also be given concessions given to other businessmen.

Mian Abuzar Shad, former president of Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said NAB had introduced a clear policy that businessmen will never be harassed. He said the owner of any media group can do any business and there is nothing wrong with it and he is entitled to all facilities enjoyed by other businessmen. He said there are many doctors, engineers and others who are doing business of investment, construction and other sectors and there is no problem in that. He said how the system of the country will run when those providing jobs to thousands of people are treated like that. Irfan Iqbal Shaikh, President Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the whole country and rest of the world has stopped routine activities to fight coronavirus threat; therefore, the NAB should also immediately release Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and pursue the case when the emergency situation in the country is over. He said Business Council must also be involved in the matter. Mohammad Yaseen, Executive Member FPCCI, said a committee of businessmen was formed after consultation with all stakeholders. He said the case of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman must be referred to that committee. He said Jang-Geo Group comes under the definition of entrepreneurs as they are regular taxpayers, therefore, his case must be referred to the concerned committee.

Muhammad Ali Mian, former president LCCI and businessman, said the Editor-in-Chief of Jang-Geo group was arrested in a 34-year-old private property case in which the requirements of justice were not fulfilled as he was fully cooperating with the NAB investigation team and all the property record was available with the government. He said the land record must also be available with the LDA or Revenue Department, which must be probed. He said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman must be immediately released on bail as arrest in bilateral property transactions was totally uncalled for. Fawad Ijaz Khan, Patron-in-Chief, Pakistan Leather Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association, strongly condemned the arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman by NAB. “He has been arrested for a commercial transaction dating back to 34 years. By targeting a prominent businessman on flimsy charges that would not stand up the scrutiny of court, NAB’s actions are creating great discomfort amongst the business community and indeed are raising concerns about the government’s intentions about a community that is paying taxes and providing employment,” he said. Fawad appealed to the relevant authorities to immediately release Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.

Anjum Nisar, former president KCCI, said on behalf of Karachi businessmen that Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman be released immediately. “We have previously registered our concern in the manner in which NAB is targeting the business community on trivial charges that would be thrown out by the courts as shown by the superior courts in various judgments. The prime minister had also instructed NAB’s scrutiny of businessmen should be subject to certain conditions,” he said. He said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in addition to being the editor-in-chief of the largest media group of Pakistan, is also a businessman of stature. His organisations are the largest tax payers in the media industry and are members of several business associations as well. “His arrest is in violation of the PM’s assurances and NAB’s principles. Once again the business community is doubtful of the integrity of NAB and feel that by acting in violation of law it is doing great disservice to the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan,” he said. “We request the PM to please intervene; instruct NAB to abide by the law in the case of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman – and in all cases. This will reassure and give confidence to businessmen. Most importantly, it will be the fair and right thing to do,” he said.

Newspaper: The News