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Pakistan arrests head of largest media group

Mir Shakilur Rehman charged with illegal land allotment

Aamir Latif   | 12.03.2020
Pakistan arrests head of largest media group

KARACHI, Pakistan

Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog arrested the owner of the country’s largest media group for allegedly acquiring land below the market price, an official confirmed. 

Mir Shakilur Rehman, the Chief Executive, and Editor-in-Chief of Jang Group, was taken into custody in Lahore where he appeared before the National Accountability Bureau (NBA), a spokesperson of the bureau said in a statement.

He was charged with illegal obtaining land at a prime location in Lahore at below market price by the three-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Rehman will go Friday before an accountability court in Lahore, the spokesperson added.  

The Jang Group, which publishes the country’s largest Urdu language newspaper, Jang; English daily The News and several newspapers and magazines, has long been a vocal critic of the political role of the country’s powerful military and the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

A Jang Group spokesperson in a statement condemned the arrest, and accused the government of trying to stifle freedom of press.

He rejected NAB's allegations saying Rehman had been arrested in a case pertaining to a 34-year old land deal with a private party, and that Jang Group would not bow to pressure with respect to freedom of press.

The company also owns a network of news, and entertainment televisions channels, including popular Geo News.

Dawn, another large media group, filed a petition in the Sindh High Court, accusing the government of suspending its advertisement for being critical of policies. 

Khan, last month accused Dawn, the country’s premier English newspaper of publishing “fake news” against his government. The group denies the charge.

Formed in 2000 by the former military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf, NAB is often accused of targeting opposition parties.

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