Monday, October 3

Germany ‘closely monitoring’ Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman case


BERLIN: Germany is closely monitoring the private property case against Jang/Geo Editor-In-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman and expects proceedings will be conducted according to the ‘rule of law’, informed sources have revealed.

According to the information shared, the German embassy and the EU delegation in Islamabad have been closely monitoring the progress of the case against MSR.

The German federal government is aware of the matter and Germany has also approached Pakistani authorities in the context of a broader discussion about press freedoms in Pakistan, the source said.

The European Union has already raised MSR’s arrest with Pakistani authorities in the context of broader discussions on democratic space, media freedom, and the situation of civil society, a spokesperson for the EU had revealed earlier this week.

EU Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Virginie Battu-Henriksson, in response to questions about the arrest, had underlined that due process must be ensured in the case.

The spokesperson said the European Union was firmly committed to supporting progress on human rights, democracy and the implementation of international conventions in Pakistan.

“These commitments also form a fundamental condition of the EU’s GSP+ trade preferences granted unilaterally to Pakistan,” she said, adding that media freedom has been highlighted as one area of particular concern.

An accountability court had just days earlier extended MSR’s physical remand for 10 more days. He has been incarcerated without charges being formally brought against him for more than 40 days now.

The National Accountability Bureau had arrested MSR on March 12 in connection with property allegedly bought illegally from a government entity more than 34 years ago.

According to a Jang Group spokesperson, the property was in fact bought from a private party 34 years ago and all evidence of this was provided to NAB and legal requirements fulfilled, such as payment of duty and taxes.

MSR’s arrest has been roundly condemned bypoliticians, journalists, lawyers, and human rights bodies from both within Pakistan and worldwide.

Senior politicians from across the spectrum, journalists from major media outlets, intellectuals, rights activists and media watchdogs have spoken out in favour of the veteran journalist, who, local and international watchdogs have said, is being victimised for speaking truth to power.

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