In a major development, Bol News Islamabad Bureau Chief Siddique Jan has been discharged by the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) today.
A large crowd of Siddique Jan’s supporters, including his journalist colleagues, gave him the heartiest welcome on his release. They showered him with petals and lifted him on their shoulders in celebration of his release while chanting slogans in support of him.
Read more: Nation demands release of Siddique Jan
Siddique Jan’s release is being widely celebrated on social media as members of Pakistan’s media fraternity hail the court’s decision to dispose off the case against him.
صدیق جان کی رہائ کے بعد استقبال۔۔۔ pic.twitter.com/4SkNpryEqt
— Ihtisham Ul Haq (@iihtishamm) March 22, 2023
میری یہ خواہش اب مزید شدت اختیار کر گئی ہے کہ میاں علی اشفاق کو کسی عدالت میں دلائل دیتے ہوئے خود دیکھوں۔ صدیق جان کی رہائی کے بہت بہت شکریہ میاں صاحب 🙏 https://t.co/JBBQBSPrxa
— Iqrar ul Hassan Syed (@iqrarulhassan) March 22, 2023
During the hearing today, Siddique Jan was presented before the court where his counsel maintained that Siddique Jan has no role in the case being built against him.
On the other hand, the police demanded a five-day remand of the journalist, to which the judge remarked that the time was granted to clarify the difference between a journalist and a terrorist. The court then granted an exemption to Siddique Jan in the case.
عدالت نے صدیق جان کا کیس اڑا دیا، الحمداللّه۔ صدیق جان رہا ہو گئے۔ 👏👏👏
جس دور میں جینا مشکل ہو، اس دور میں جینا لازم ہے۔ پاکستان زندہ باد!! 💪 🇵🇰 pic.twitter.com/0Rnsx1wY2e
— Maleeha Hashmey (@MaleehaHashmey) March 22, 2023
Siddique Jan was taken away by men in plain clothes outside the BOL News Office in Islamabad. CCTV footage showed over 25-30 men come outside and take away Siddique Jan in a car.
He was accused of sharing some videos of the police shelling on the PTI supporters outside the Federal Judicial Complex and inciting violence against law enforcement agencies.
The arrest of Siddique Jan has triggered a strong reaction from the nation. As soon as the news of Jan’s arrest broke out, #ReleaseSiddiqueJan became the top trend on Twitter in Pakistan. The country’s journalist body demanded his release while criticizing the government for violating human rights and freedom of speech in the country.
Read more: US report calls attention to human rights violations in Pakistan
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has strongly condemned the arrest of Siddique Jan and has announced to hold countrywide protests. A large number of journalists and journalistic bodies also gathered at the BOL News office to show solidarity with Siddique Jan.
PTI leaders have also expressed solidarity with Siddique Jan while lashing out at the government for the crackdown against journalists.