Sentenced in Afghanistan: Islamabad seeks clemency for journalist

Pervez Rashid urges Afghan president to send the Faizullah home before Eid.


Agencies July 25, 2014

ISLAMABAD:


Pakistan appealed to Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Thursday to issue a pardon to a journalist facing a four-year jail term in Afghanistan for ‘contacting terrorists’.


Faizullah Khan, a reporter with ARY News, was arrested in April by Afghan security forces in Nangarhar province.

He was sentenced earlier this month to four years in jail for entering without travel documents and communicating with militant sources.

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pervez Rashid urged Karzai to issue a presidential pardon. “I appeal to Afghan president Hamid Karzai to use his powers,” to pardon Faizullah Khan,” Rashid said in a joint news conference along with the wife of the detained journalist and PFUJ President Afzal Butt.

“Both the ministry of interior and the ministry of information have been pursuing this matter from the day he was arrested,” he added.

The information minister expressed hope that Faizullah will spend Eid with his family back in Pakistan.

“If Karzai uses his special power, Faizullah and his family can be saved.” He said that the Afghan court dropped some of the charges against Faizullah while the remaining charges were “worth a pardon”.

Rashid said Pakistan respected Afghanistan’s judicial system and was appealing the verdict in an Afghan court.

Wafiullah Usmani, the head of the national security court of Nangarhar, in eastern Afghanistan, last week told AFP that Khan had no travel documents at the time of his arrest.

Khan was arrested with two members of the Pakistani Taliban on the Afghan side of the border, he said.

Pakistani journalist organisations have staged protest rallies across the country and have demanded the Afghan government release Karachi-based Khan before Eidul Fitr which is expected to fall on Tuesday. 

Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2014.

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