Journalist asked to appear before ATC
GILGIT: An Anti-Terrorism Court has asked Shabbir Saham, an Islamabad-based journalist, to appear before it on Oct 7 for the hearing of a case registered against him for allegedly defaming some PML-N members of the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly in a newspaper column.
The notice sent by Judge Raja Shahbaz Khan warned Mr Saham of an ex parte decision if he did not attend the hearing.
The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), the Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists and the National Press Club, Islamabad, have called upon the GB government to withdraw the case.
Mr Saham, a resident of Skardu based in Islamabad, had written a story for the Daily Times in November, which said some members of the GB Legislative Assembly were involved in women trafficking from Gilgit-Baltistan for prostitution.
The region’s government registered a case against the journalist, accusing him of fabrication. Later police carried out raids on Mr Saham’s residence in Islamabad.
A number of bodies representing journalists had held a demonstration outside the Parliament House in Islamabad in March to condemn the GB government’s action.
Talks were held between PFUJ and the federal and GB governments in April to sort out the issue. But a three-member committee has not made any progress even after six months.