Pakistan's anti-corruption watchdog on Thursday arrested the editor-in-chief of one of the major media groups for illegal possession of a piece of land.
Pakistani media reported that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has arrested Mir Shakilur Rehman in Lahore for failing to show that he had bought a 54-kanal land legally.
While the NAB claimed that former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had illegally leased the land to Rehman in 1986, the Jang group said the property "was bought from a private party 34 years ago and all evidence of this was given to the NAB."
The Jang Group accused the NAB of harbouring a vendetta against the publication. "During the past 18 months, NAB has sent our reporters, producers and editors over a dozen notices threatening to shut down our channels due to our reporting and programmes about the anti-corruption watchdog.
"The NAB has also, through several means, tried to persuade us to go slow, to stop stories and to do other stories in its favour at the expense of the full truth. We will not stop any reporter, producer or anchor from any story that is on merit, and at the same time will include NAB's version," a statement of the media group read.
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz told reporters in Islamabad that this crackdown on the media is an old tactic. "Honest news anchors were targeted and sidelined and today you have arrested the head of a media house. This might block the news but it will not block the truth," she told the media.
Pakistani media quoted NAB spokesperson Nawazish Ali as saying that Rahman appeared in the case before the bureau for the second time on Thursday. However, he failed to satisfy officials with his responses. The anti-corruption watchdog will produce Rahman in front of the court on Friday for his physical remand.