Pakistan frees TV news director held over an anti-army broadcast - GulfToday

Pakistan frees TV news director held over an anti-army broadcast


Employees of ARY News shout slogans during a protest against the channel being taken off air by the government in Islamabad on Friday. AFP

A Pakistani court in the southern port city of Karachi ordered the release of a TV news director who was arrested the previous day over an anti-army broadcast, his colleagues and lawyer said.

The release of Ammad Yousaf, a senior executive at the country's popular private ARY Television, came a day after police raided his home and arrested him. He had been accused of broadcasting an anti-army interview with Shahbaz Gill, chief of staff at Tehrik-e-Insaf opposition party of former prime minister Imran Khan.

Pakistan’s media regulatory body also shuttered the TV station.

According to ARY, after his release, Yousaf thanked all those who had raised their voices against his arrest. However, by late on Thursday, ARY was still off the air.

In the controversial interview, broadcast on Monday, Gill urged Pakistani troops and officers to refuse to obey "illegal orders” from the military — remarks that were seen by authorities as incitement to mutiny.

Gill was subsequently arrested on treason charges for which he could face the death penalty.

Earlier on Thursday, Reporters Without Border condemned Yousaf's arrest and the TV's suspension. "The same crude censorship and harassment of journalists critical of the government keeps on recurring,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of the group's Asia-Pacific desk,

ARY has distanced itself from Gill's remarks, stressing that it is not part of any campaign against the army.

Associated Press

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