KARACHI: The Sindh Bar Council on Tuesday expressed serious concern and reservation over the unjustified and malafide arrest and detention of Editor-in-Chief of Jang-Geo media group, Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, by the National Accountability Bureau and termed his arrest in a case pertaining to 1980s as malafide and malicious act.
SBC Vice Chairman Syed Haider Imam Rizvi and Chairman Executive Committee Shafqat Rahim Rajput said in their statement that the arrest and acts against electronic and print media were highly condemnable.
They said that independence of the judiciary is largely linked with a strong, honest, neutral and independent media and the arrest of Mir Shakil by the NAB and closure of TV channel 24 was an outcome of questionable exercise of power.
The office-bearers of the SBC, the prime statuary body of the lawyers in the province, have termed the acts of NAB and PEMRA 'onslaught' on the fundamental rights of freedom of speech, press freedom and right to information as guaranteed by Article 19 and Article 19-A of the Constitution.
They also condemned the suspension of license of TV channel 24 by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority without giving opportunity of hearing and termed it against the spirit of law. They said that PEMRA had also penalised different TV channels, including Neo TV by suspending their licenses without adopting due process of law.
They said that the previous governments in the past had adopted such kind of identical, unlawful acts to pressurize the media and in this regard talk show of famous journalist Talat Hussain was also stopped without any reason.
They said that reporters without borders in its 2018 press freedom index ranked Pakistan 139 out of 180 countries, adding that such aforesaid acts amounted to compromising the independence of the media in Pakistan and the press freedom continued to decline, which was no manner feasible for a strong democracy in the country.