NAB arrests Mir Shakil-ur Rehman, CEO of Jang & Geo Group

In an unprecedented move, National Accountability Bureau (NAB), country's apex anti-corruption agency has arrested Pakistan's most powerful Media Mogul. Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman is considered Rupert Murdoch of Pakistan; his group owns "Geo", country's most influential TV Network, Jang, its largest Urdu paper and The News, its largest English paper. NAB has accused him of a clandestine land allotment of more than 30 years ago. Many wonder why NAB has arrested him now?

NAB

Mir Shakilur Rahman, Editor-in-chief of Geo/Jang Group, was arrested in Lahore by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the evening of Thursday, March 12. Nawazish Ali, NAB spokesperson say’s media tycoon’s arrest has been in a case pertaining to the clandestine allotment of a 54-kanal piece of land  in 1986 – from the then government of CM Nawaz Sharif.

NAB had been conducting an inquiry against him in the fraudulent activity. His arrest came after he failed to submit a satisfactory reply to the bureau’s questions, said NAB.

He is accused of acquiring exemption on 54 plots in Johar Town, Lahore in 1986 during former then Chief Minister Nawaz Sharif’s term.

Read more: Why govt & PPP at odds following Bilawal’s appearance before NAB

On March 5, Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman visited NAB, and had been questioned by NAB for two hours. Rahman had said that he was hopeful that the watchdog and the courts will decide the case fairly.

Mir Shakilur Rahman is the owner and Editor-in-chief of Geo and Jang Group. NAB will produce Rahman in front of an accountability court tomorrow for his physical remand. The NAB spokesperson said they arrested Mir Shakilur Rahman to ensure he does not flee the country.

The National Accountability Bureau is Pakistan’s apex anti-corruption organization. It is charged with the responsibility of elimination of corruption through a holistic approach of awareness, prevention and enforcement.

It operates under the National Accountability Ordinance-1999. With its headquarter at Islamabad, it has four regional offices in the provincial capitals and one at Rawalpindi. It takes cognizance of all offences falling within the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO).

The National Accountability Bureau has been criticized by the Supreme Court for mismanagement. Justice Jawad S. Khawaja of the Supreme Court criticized the institution for its practice of ‘plea bargain’ and described it as ‘institutionalized corruption.’

Under the said practice the Bureau arrests suspects and negotiates for an out-of-court settlement under which the suspect is made to sign a confession and deposit funds of an amount determined by NAB.

Justice Khawaja stated during court proceedings that he believed some NAB officials warn influential suspects before arrest to allow them sufficient time to escape.

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