KARACHI: An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) on Wednesday granted bail to senior journalist and Karachi Press Club (KPC) member Nasarullah Khan Chaudhry for allegedly possessing banned literature.
Khan was in police custody after he was arrested by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) in Karachi’s Garden area on November 11.
As the hearing went underway, the journalist’s lawyer Advocate Muhammad Farooq argued that the CTD did not have proof against his client. The court then directed the journalist to submit Rs 100,000 as a bail bond.
Chaudhry was first remanded into police custody on November 12.
It was further stated that the journalist allegedly carried some journals and booklets about Afghan Jihad and the Punjabi Taliban which contained material intended to sow discord on sectarian grounds as well as to motivate people to take part in “Jihad”.
The CTD booked the journalist under Section 11-F (i) of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997 (a person is guilty of an offence if he belongs, or professes to belong, to a proscribed organisation), Section 11-W(i) (printing, publishing or disseminating any material to incite hatred or giving projection to any person convicted for a terrorist act or any proscribed organisation or an organisation placed under observation or anyone concerned in terrorism) and Section 7.
Earlier, ATC sent Nasrullah Khan Chaudhry to jail for five days and directed the Investigation Officer (IO), Syed Ali Haider of the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD), to conduct the inquiry as per law in the case pertaining to alleged recovery of anti-state and hate literature from the accused.
The CTD officials produced the journalist after the completion of two-day remand, handcuffed and his face covered with a cloth.
However, the journalist community protested outside the court premises on presenting a senior journalist in such a way
President Karachi Press Club (KPC) Ahmed Khan Malik said he wants to inform the court about the facts and stated that some plainclothes of law enforcement agencies had conducted a raid on KPC and harassed journalists present in the club.
Malik said that Nasrullah Khan was taken away after the raid on KPC and a fake case pertaining to recovery of hate literature was registered against him. ‘’ Is this a crime, if a journalist reads literature?”
Journalist, Nasrullah was taken away by unknown armed men from his home in Soldier Bazar a few days back. On November 8, a group of armed plainclothes forcibly entered into the premises of Karachi Press Club (KPC) and started making video recordings of different parts of the premises.
The journalist community, after the raid on KPC, staged a sit-in outside the governor house and demanded the arrest of the KPC intruders.
Meanwhile, the CTD has said that the raid carried out at the KPC last week was indeed conducted to arrest Chaudhry, who was present there at that time but managed to flee from the scene.
The law enforcers apologised from the journalist community for raiding the press club, saying the operations were being carried out to protect the citizens of Karachi from any untoward incident, specifically in wake of the defence expo which is scheduled to be held later this month.
It is pertinent to mention that adviser to Sindh chief minister on information Murtaza Wahab had on Friday claimed that the intrusion of law enforcers in plainclothes into KPC on Thursday night was due to some “misunderstanding”.
In a statement, the adviser said that initial inquiry into the incident revealed that the law enforcers went there due to “some problem in their GSM locator”.