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Court in Pakistan denies bail to media tycoon held without charges

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Court in Pakistan denies bail to media tycoon held without charges


A court in Pakistan on Wednesday denied bail to the editor-in-chief of the country’s largest media group, who has been held for four months without charges being brought, defence lawyers said.

Mir Shakeelur Rehman, who owns Jang media group, was arrested in March by Pakistan’s anti-graft authorities on allegations of corruption in a property deal that occurred more than three decades ago.

Rehman has been in custody since then, but no charges have been brought against him, a violation of the country’s laws, his lawyer Amjad Pervaiz said.

The Lahore High Court in the central province of Punjab denied Rehman’s bail request on Wednesday in what lawyers’ unions said the decision was counter to judicial principles.

Rehman’s Jang group operates an Urdu and an English-language newspaper, as well as Pakistan’s popular Geo television channel.

Unions for lawyers and journalists have criticised the arrest, saying that it is part of a larger crackdown on media and those critical of the government and the powerful military.

There have been growing complaints of threats against media houses and journalists since the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan took over in 2018 after elections allegedly manipulated by the military.

Edited By: Fatima Sule/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

Fatima Sule: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

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Pakistan forms team to probe blasphemy trial killing of United States citizen 

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Probe

Islamabad, Aug. 1, 2020  Pakistan has formed a special team to investigate the killing of a Pakistani-American, who was shot dead inside a courtroom during his controversial blasphemy trial.

“A special team has been constituted to investigate the case,” the Foreign Ministry said on Saturday after the United States State Department called for justice for the American citizen.

The intellectually disabled Pakistani-American man was shot on Wednesday in the north-western city of Peshawar as a hearing on blasphemy charges against him was under way.

The man, identified as Tahir Naseem from Illinois, had been in a Pakistani jail since 2018 on blasphemy charges after he claimed to be a prophet.

The State Department had urged Pakistan to pursue reforms “that will prevent such shameful tragedy again.”

“Naseem had been lured to Pakistan by individuals, who then used Pakistan’s blasphemy laws to entrap him,” State Department deputy spokesman Cale Brown said, without giving details.

“We urge Pakistan to immediately reform its often abused blasphemy laws and its court system,” Brown added.

The alleged killer, a young man in his early 20s, was arrested and remanded in police custody by an anti-terrorism court on Thursday.

He told police that the Muslim prophet Mohammed appeared in his dream and ordered him to kill the man because he was the follower of the Ahmadiya faith, investigation officer Ijaz Ahmed told dpa.

Followers of persecuted Ahmadiya community insist they are Muslims but were declared a minority by Pakistan’s parliament in 1974 due to their thoughts on the finality of Mohammed’s prophethood.

According to belief of orthodox Muslims, there can be no prophet after Mohammed.

Thousands of Muslim men rallied in Peshawar on Friday in support of the attacker while leading politicians including some from the party of Prime Minister Imran Khan cheered for him online.

Right activists called the support for a person who had killed in the name of Islam as an example of the growing trend of bigotry and shrinking space for dissent in religious issues.

“The state and the society should rise against it before it sinks all of us,” activist Taimur Kamal said from Peshawar.

Death is the maximum sentence under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, which were introduced by former military ruler Ziaul Haq in 1980s.

Pakistani courts rarely grant bail to people accused of blasphemy, in most cases due to pressures by powerful Muslim clerics.

Around 75 people facing blasphemy charges have been killed since 1980s by individuals or angry mobs even before their trials were concluded in courts.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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5 terrorists killed in police raid in Pakistan’s Punjab

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Police in Pakistan’s east Punjab province foiled a major terror plot by killing at least five terrorists of a proscribed organization, the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of police said in a statement on Friday.


According to the CTD officials, the operation was carried out on an intelligence tip-off regarding presence of suspected militants in a building in Arabi Tibba of Rajanpur district of Punjab province.

Police came under fire from terrorists to which the CTD personnel responded with effective retaliatory fire and killed all five terrorists, said the CTD officials, adding that the militants were planning to conduct terrorist activities in the province.

Police recovered arms, ammunition and maps of sensitive buildings of the province from the militants’ compound. The officials also seized a 10-15 kg bomb which has been defused by bomb disposal squad of police.

Earlier in June, four militants were gunned down during a CTD operation on the outskirts of Peshawar, the provincial capital of northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

(XINHUA)

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In pics: closed market during lockdown in Lahore, Pakistan

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Policemen stand guard at a closed market during lockdown in eastern Pakistan’s Lahore on July 30, 2020. (Photo by Sajjad/Xinhua)

(XINHUA)

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Pakistan shows concerns over India’s induction of Rafale jets

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Pakistan on Thursday expressed serious concerns over India’s induction of Rafale fighter jets imported from France into the Indian Air Force and said it could lead to an arms race in South Asia.


A batch of five Rafale jets reached at Indian air force station Ambala in the northern state of Haryana on Wednesday. The five aircraft is the first tranche of the 36 planes bought by India from France.

“We have seen reports of recent acquisition of Rafale jets by Indian Air Force. According to some former senior Indian officials and several international publications, these Rafale jets have dual-capable systems that can also be modified as nuclear weapon delivery platforms,” Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said.

“It is well known that India continues to expand and modernize its nuclear arsenal both in terms of type and number of delivery systems. In addition to this, India has nuclearized the Indian Ocean and continues to increase the readiness of its arsenal,” Farooqui said at her weekly press briefing in Islamabad.

She said it is disturbing to note that India continues to amass military capabilities beyond its genuine security requirement, adding that according to credible and reputable international research institutes, India is now the second largest arms importer in the world.

The spokesperson said Pakistan has been consistently highlighting the risks of massive Indian arms buildup as well as their offensive security doctrine and force postures, which are adversely affecting the strategic stability in South Asia.

“Transfer of advanced systems, where there is an open intention of conversion into nuclear delivery platforms, calls into question the commitment of international suppliers to non-proliferation commitments,” she said, urging the world community to dissuade India from its disproportionate arms buildup which could also lead to an arms race in South Asia.

“On Pakistan’s part, we remain open to consideration of measures for crisis management, risk reduction, and strategic restraint. While remaining opposed to any arms race in South Asia, Pakistan cannot remain oblivious to these developments, and remain confident of its ability to thwart any ill-considered act of aggression,” Farooqui said.

(XINHUA)

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