Notice issued on journalist’s plea against conviction
KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Wednesday issued a notice to the prosecutor general of Sindh on an appeal of a journalist against his conviction in a case of possessing literature to incite religious hatred.
An antiterrorism court had sentenced Nasrullah Khan Chaudhry to five years in prison last week and Mr Chaudhry, a journalist associated with Urdu-language daily Nai Baat, through his lawyer challenged the trial court order before the SHC.
The two-judge bench headed by Justice Mohammad Iqbal Kalhoro issued the notice to the prosecutor general for Jan 9 for arguments.
Lawyer for the appellant Advocate Mohammad Farooq contended that the judgement of the trial court was not in accordance with the basic principles of law and maintained that the Counter-Terrorism Department had kept the appellant in wrongful detention for three days and then framed him in the present case.
The counsel further argued that it was a case of no evidence and even the FIR was not in accordance with law.
He asserted that the prosecution did not produce any evidence regarding the recovery of hatred literature from the appellant and Section 11-W (i) of the Anti-terrorism Act was not applicable to the case and pleaded to set aside the conviction.
The ATC had handed down five-year imprisonment to him and imposed a fine under Section 11-W(i) (printing, publishing or disseminating any material to incite hatred or going projection to any person convicted for a terrorist act or any proscribed organization or an organization placed under observation or anyone concerned in terrorism) and six-month term in sections 11-F (i) (a person is guilty of an offence if he belongs or professes to belong to a proscribed organization) of the Anti-terrorism Act.
The prosecution maintained in the charge sheet that the senior journalist was arrested on Nov 11, 2018 in the Garden area and alleged that he was carrying some journals and booklets about Afghan jihad, Punjabi Taliban and other books which contained material for getting people instigated on religious grounds and creating religious disharmony as well as encouraging them for jihad.
It also alleged that the journalist had links with Khalid Mukshi, a leader of Al-Qaeda. However, Mukshi was not named as an accused or absconder in the charge sheet.