Pak Journalist Jailed For 5 Years For ‘Religious Hatred’

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Gavel And Scales Of Justice On Desk In Law Office

KARACHI – A journalist in Pakistan has been given a five-year jail term and fined Rs 10,000 by an anti-terrorism court for spreading “religious hatred” and possessing “literature against the state”.

 

Nasrullah Chaudhry, working with Urdu-language daily Nai Baat, was found guilty of committing offences punishable under stringent provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act, Dawn news reported.

 

The anti-terrorism court judge in Karachi, who conducted the trial inside the central prison, awarded him the five-year imprisonment and Rs 10,000 fine with the direction to serve one month imprisonment on default.

 

He was also sentenced to six-month imprisonment and Rs 5,000 fine with the direction to serve 15 days imprisonment on default.

 

The court cancelled his bail and sent him to the prison to serve out his sentences. However, all the sentences will run concurrently.

 

Chaudhry was arrested in Karachi’s Garden area on November 11, 2018 on the allegations of carrying some journals and booklets about Afghan Jihad and the Punjabi Taliban which contained material intended to sow discord on sectarian grounds as well as to motivate people to take part in “Jihad”.

 

The charge-sheet alleged that the detained journalist had links with al-Qaeda leader Khalid Mukshi.

 

Chaudhry denied the allegations, claiming that the prosecution witnesses falsely deposed against him in favour of the law enforcement agencies.

 

Claiming to be innocent, he said that he has nothing to do with the alleged offence and also denied the recovery of the alleged hate material from him.

 

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists and the Karachi Union of Journalists have expressed grave concern over the conviction of senior journalist Nasarullah Chaudhry for allegedly possessing banned literature.

 

 

 

In a joint statement, the journalist bodies noted that the government through law enforcement agencies and other tactics, which include torture, threats and harassment, had been trying to pressure the journalists with impunity.