ISLAMABAD - Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Pervaiz Rashid Wednesday said the government would play its role for release of Pakistani journalist Faizullah Khan jailed in Afghanistan.
He was addressing at a demonstration organised by Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (FPUJ) for the release of Faizullah, who was sentenced by a court in Afghanistan to four years for travelling without documents.
Rashid appealed to Afghan President Hamid Karzai for the release of Faizullah Khan. The Afghan court sentenced the journalist and now Afghan President should use his special powers for his release, he added.
He said, "We respect the courts in Pakistan as well as in Afghanistan. We respect the laws of Afghanistan." He said people of Pakistan gave sacrifices for restoration of judges and upholding of dignity of courts, adding a state and society respects judiciary.
The minister thanked journalist Saleem Safi for making contacts with the representatives of the Afghan government who gave a commitment for release of the Pakistani journalist. He told that he also got a report from the Foreign Office that Pakistan's ambassador in Afghanistan got a similar commitment from the Afghan interior minister.
Faizullah was arrested on April 6 by Afghan authorities and within two days Pakistani diplomats came in contact with Afghan officials and established telephonic contact with the detained journalist, he told. Rashid said according to Foreign Office, the embassy hired a lawyer to plead case of the arrested journalist.
The minister expressed hope that Faizullah would be back with his family members to spend upcoming Eid with them. He assured that a delegation of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) would be facilitated for its visit to Afghanistan so it could secure release of Faizullah and bring him back.
The minister said the government would support airing of television channels of Afghanistan in Pakistan and vice versa. Afghanistan is neighbour of Pakistan and relations of the two countries are rooted in common culture and history, he added.
He said media has become free as technology has broken down barriers created by forces of oppression. The minister appreciated the journalist community for getting together for a common cause.
Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Interior Talha Mehmood also assured his support to the journalists.
PFUJ President Afzal Butt, prominent journalists and office-bearers of National Press Club also spoke on the issue.