LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to submit reply till Thursday to a petition, filed against the detention of Jang-Geo Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, in relation to a 34 -year-old property case.
A two-member LHC bench, headed by Justice SardarNaeem Ahmad, was hearing two petitions pertaining to the arrest and extension in remand of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. During the previous hearing, the court had asked NAB to submit para-wise comments to the questions raised in the petition. However, NAB only filed a reply to one of the petitions.
Barrister AitzazAhsan appeared on behalf of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and argued that NAB summoned Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman on March 3, along with documents. “NAB then adjourned the proceedings until March 12,” he said, adding that his client had asked the bureau to hand him over the questionnaire, which was not given to him. Upon appearing on March 12, the arrestwarrants of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman were issued from Karachi while the investigation was being carried out in Lahore, said the lawyer.
He said NAB chairman did not apply his mind or looked into the reasons before issuing the arrest warrants. He pointed out that Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was arrested at the complaint verification stage, which had never happened before and it showed mala fide on the part of bureau. By doing so, NAB acted beyond its jurisdiction in violation of its own 2019 policy, he added.
While referring to the extension in remand, he said the accountability court did not mention the reasons behind the decision. He said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman did not get any concession from the LDA as the authority acquired his 126-kanal-land out of 180 kanals. He had left 33-kanal-land at Canal Road and what the LDA allotted him was consolidated with 33 kanals. He said NAB only alleged that why Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was given land on the canal bank.
The NAB prosecutor submitted that arrest warrants could be issued at the inquiry stage. The court asked NAB to submit reply and para-wise comments to Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman bail petition by Thursday.
Aitzaz said Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’s brother, Mir JavedRahman, was seriously ill in Karachi and on a ventilator. He requested the court to release him immediately. The court, however, did not accept the plea.
Later, NAB allowed Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman to meet his ailing brother, Mir JavedRahman, who’s also Roznama Jang/ The News publisher, after a news item was published that he was critically ill.
“Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman can go to Karachi for one day to visit his ailing brother; however, he will remain under NAB detention,” said the statement.
The NAB statement came after Federal Minister for Human Rights ShireenMazari requested the bureau to allow Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman to meet his brother on humanitarian grounds. “Without seeking to, or even seeming to interfere in any way with the independence of NAB, as the minister for human rights, I would request you to consider not opposing a 48-hour parole for Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman to allow him to see his critically ill brother, as his case for bail comes up before the LHC,” she wrote.
JavedRahman is being treated at a private hospital in Karachi. According to the hospital report, he is suffering from lung cancer. The main petition was filed by Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’s wife ShahinaShakil, challenging the arrest and remand of her husband. She had stated that Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman had been cooperating with officials and the arrest was a flagrant violation of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) of the accountability watchdog. Later, Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman filed the bail petition as well. The court will resume hearing on April 2.
Newspaper: The News