CPNE, APNS concerned over Mir Shakeel’s conviction
The President of the Council of Paki-stan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), Mujibur Rehman Shami and the President of the All Pakistan News-papers Society ( APNS), Hameed Haroon, have in a joint statement expressed dismay at the unlawful conviction of Mir Shakeel ur Rehman, the Editorin- Chief of the Jang – Geo media group and of associated media persons, by an anti- terrorism court at Gilgit – Baltistan.
They declare this conviction to be incompatible with press freedoms enshrined in Article 19 of the Constitution of Pakistan and that the Gilgit-Baltistan (Empowerment & Self- Governance) Order, 2009 under which the judica-ture of that territory has been set up, is violative of the fundamental rights guaranteed to all Pakistani citizens under the Constitution.
They conclude that: “the unlawful conviction of media persons in Gilgit – Baltistan constitutes a major threat to the exis- tence of a free press throughout the country.”
The joint statement further explains that whereas some fundamental rights had been conferred under the controversial order, two major fun- damental rights enjoyed by citizens of Pakistan under the 1973 Constitution are notably missing from this Order - these being the fundamental rights enshrined in Articles 10A and 13 of the Constitution of Pakistan.
It may be noted that Article 10A provides that in any criminal charge, a person shall be entitled to a fair trial and due process. Article 13 guarantees to all citizens of Pakistan that “no person shall be prosecuted.. for the same offence more than once”.
“Thus, if citizens of Pakistan not resident or not even physically present in the territory, were to be transported for trial from Pakistan to Gilgit-Baltistan for alleged offences, such persons would be denied two important fundamental rights.”
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