Mir Shakeel granted bail after 241 days in prison

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Supreme Court on Monday granted bail to the Jang-Geo Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in a case relating to a property transaction that took place 34 years ago. Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman had been in the custody of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) since March 13, remaining in prisons for 241 days.

The court observed that the case was “made with discrimination” and was “not appropriate”. A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Mushir Alam, accepted the bail plea filed by Mir Shakil–ur-Rahman against an order passed by the Lahore High Court (LHC) dismissing his post-arrest bail.

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Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed were the other members of the apex court bench. Justice Yahya Afridi observed that the criminal law did not permit discrimination adding that the instant case was not made in a proper manner and it was not appropriate.

“There is an unpleasant observation regarding yourcase,” Justice Yahya Afridi asked the Additional Prosecutor National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Haider Ali Khan.

Justice Yahya Afridi observed that in the instant case many others had also made payment for the excess land as per the then prevailing policy in terms of Reserved Price fixed as such for the entire Johar Town Housing Scheme-Phase-II.

When the judge asked the prosecutor about this, he replied in the affirmative. “Then tell us whether you have taken any action against those people and why you did not file a reference against them,” Justice Afridi asked the prosecutor.

“You took action only against the petitioner,” Justice Yahya Afridi told the prosecutor adding, “As per criminal law, there is no discrimination. It is not proper and it is not appropriate.” Justice Mushir Alam asked the prosecutor if the anti-graft body had also issued notices to others to pay the additional amount.

Amjad Pervez, counsel for Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman, submitted that the NAB filed a reference against his client and other accused including former Chief Minister Punjab Mian Nawaz Sharif, the then Director General Lahore Development Authority as well as Director Land Development; however, only his client was arrested on March 12 and the same day an inquiry was authorized against him and the same day his arrest warrant was issued.