Daily Briefs

Photo : The News

25 March 2020, Wednesday

Amal Clooney seeks UN attention for Pakistan arresting the Jang group owner

PR Daily Brief | Lakshmi V Menon

On 23 March Amal Clooney’s Doughty Street Chambers confirmed it had filed two complaints with the UN against Editor-in-Chief of Geo/Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’s arbitrary and politically-motivated arrest. First, an urgent appeal to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, on his behalf. Second, an appeal lodged to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression. (The News International, 25 March 2020) 

Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’s international counsel team will consist of Doughty Street Chambers’ Tatyana Eatwell, Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Jennifer Robinson. His counsel alleged that NAB had directly and indirectly threatened Jang group’s journalists, reporters, editors and producers in the past 18 months and accused PM Imran Khan’s government of weaponizing NAB to shun critics. Pakistan, a signatory to UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, will be obliged to obey UN. 

The Doughty Street Chambers said that Mir Shakil was arrested on 12 March by NAB in a 1986 property transaction case, has been imprisoned and kept in unhygienic and unsafe conditions since and denied “meaningful and regular access to his lawyers”.  
Chief Executive of the Association for International Broadcasting (AIB) Simon Spanwick expressed concerns over the detainment of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in violation of national and international laws and over the attempts to curb Geo TV channels’ carriage agreements and licenses.  

Previously, on 21 March, The News International reported that efforts to fabricate a new case against Mir Shakil, were afoot after the 34-year old land case allegations crumbled. National Accountability Bureau Lahore had requested governmental bodies to submit any information related to Mir Shakil. 

Jang Media group owns Geo TV and some of Pakistan’s largest newspapers.NAB is currently re-investigating the case regarding the already-settled loan from National Bank of Pakistan (an issue created by the then government to harass Jang group), evidence-lacking foreign funding allegations (less than one percent of Geo’s revenue) and probing Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) regarding filing of annual accounts of Geo/Jang group.  

Following the formation of the media commission on the petition of Hamid Mir and Absar Alam, Geo TV/Jang had offered to declare personal assets and those of their employees, provided across the media industry such a declaration was made mandatory. 
Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was also falsely accused of being an enemy/traitor of Pakistan by ARY. The defamation case was proved baseless due to lack of evidence following Mir Shakil’s vindication by the London High Court and Ofcom. ARY Network had to pay £3 million in costs and damages.Furthermore, Mir Shakil’s vindication of false blasphemy allegations by Quetta Sessions Court, Balochistan High Court and Gilgit-Baltistan Supreme Appellate Court was not aired by ARY.  

Amal Clooney, a leading human rights attorney, has previously represented the cases of ISIL victim Nadia Murad, Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy, the Greek ‘Elgin Marbles’ sculptures, former Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, former Maldivian President Mohammed Nasheed, Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismayilova, two Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, Armenian genocide, and more.

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