Court orders release of news executive facing sedition charges in Pakistan

Court orders release of news executive facing sedition charges in Pakistan

 

A Pakistani court on Thursday granted the release of a news channel executive who is being investigated for sedition.

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Ammad Yousaf, the head of news for local network ARY News, was arrested a day earlier in Karachi, Pakistan’s southern port city.

The charges against him were related to remarks made by Shahbaz Gill, a confidant of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.

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Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said on Wednesday that Gill and ARY News would face sedition charges for remarks that aimed to incite mutiny within Pakistan’s powerful military.

According to ARY News, Salman Iqbal, the owner of the channel, three additional journalists, and another person have been charged with sedition.

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ARY News was also ordered to stop broadcasting after being found to have “highly hateful and seditious” content, according to Pakistan’s state-run media regulator.

The Sindh High Court, however, has directed the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) and cable operators to restore the channel’s transmission.

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Gill claimed in his ARY News appearance that there were attempts to dissuade the middle and lower ranks of the army from supporting Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.

He said the junior ranks and their families were strong PTI supporters, insinuating that they were being pressured by military high-ups.

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Gill advised military personnel to reassess whether they should follow directives that were against their personal values and the “sentiments of the masses.”

Khan, who was deposed in a no-confidence vote in March, slammed the government in a video message on Wednesday, claiming that Gill’s arrest and claims of anti-military behavior by the PTI were part of a plot to ban his party.

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