French newsmen’s plea admitted
KARACHI, Dec 23: Justice Syed Zawwar Hussain Jaffery of the Sindh High Court allowed on Tuesday an application for urgent hearing of two detained French journalists’ bail petition on Wednesday.
The judge also accepted another plea made by petitioners’ counsel, Advocates Nafees Siddiqui and Rahil Nafees, for exemption from production of certified copies of documents required to be annexed to bail petitions under the rules. The first information report and the bail rejection order of a sessions court are among the documents.
Notices were ordered to be issued to a deputy attorney-general and the FIA, which booked and arrested reporter Marc Epstein and photographer Jean Paul Guilloteau of the Paris weekly L’Express from a local hotel on Dec 16, for Wednesday.
The journalists are being proceeded against under the Foreigners Act for visiting Quetta in violation of visa rules. They reportedly stayed in the Balochistan capital for four days and filmed a documentary on Taliban.
A few scenes were shot across the Pak-Afghan border, according to the prosecution counsel who opposed their bail application in the court of additional sessions judge Nuzhat Ara Alavi.
DETENTION CASE: The Sindh High Court adjourned further hearing of a writ petition challenging the detention of former divisional commissioner and joint secretary Ziaul Islam to Dec 29 after brief arguments by the two sides on Tuesday.
The petition has been moved by Ms Kausar Parveen, the detainee’s wife and co-accused in a case, alleging amassing of wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income.
The couple has unaccounted for assets worth Rs 30 million, according to the National Accountability Bureau. The former commissioner of the (defunct) Karachi division and joint secretary of the interior ministry is the principal accused and the petitioner the main beneficiary.
Advocate Khalid Anwer, the petitioner’s counsel, submitted before a division bench, comprising Justices Sabihuddin Ahmed and Amir Hani Muslim, that the detainee had been exonerated by an official inquiry, following which his name was also taken off the exit control list.
The NAB arrested him after his exoneration. His arrest and detention were unlawful, the lawyer maintained, seeking the detainee’s release on bail pending his petition.
Contesting the petition, NAB deputy prosecutor-general Anwar Tariq stated that a corruption case against the detainee had already been finalized by the bureau and signed by its chairman. A copy of the accountability reference would be furnished to the detainee within a couple of days.