The Frontier Post
Commitment to Journalism
Prisoner of conscience
M Waqar New York Khyberzalmee@comcast.net
I read this headline on, THE NEWS website, Tension between Zardari, Shahbaz mounts over jailed chief editor of The Frontier Post''. This makes no sense that Rehmat Shah Afridi is still in prison, I was expecting from ANP Govt in pukhtoonistan to react on this issue but I don't understand muteness of ANP leadership, although on ANP web site I did send a message to Chief Minister, I would like to ask all the writers on this forum to send messages to CM on the following website of ANP(http://www.awaminationalparty.org/news/)and express your solidarity with The Frontier Post Chief Mr. Afridi who is in prison because he was punished for expressing his views and he was educating Pakhtuns through his newspaper. His confinement is politically motivated. The drugs were planted on vehicle he was in. Similar to innumerable judicial murders and crimes to suffocate voice of Pathans. The literate class of people in Pakistan is the only hope, which can place a check & balance on these bureaucrats corrupt politicians. Its about time this class should pick their pens. Its really amazing that criminals and thugs involved in suicide attacks can be easily released in Pakistan but someone like Mr. Afridi stays in prison. Two face Nawaz Sharif and his brother who are responsible for declaring Pakistan a failed state ran out of country but did not have courage and principles to face jail, attacked Supreme Court and insulted judges but now wants to be champions of judiciary and free press. I agree with Mr. Asif Ali Zardari who bitterly asked: "Where are the champions of the press freedom today? Rehmat Shah Afridi was arrested and booked in a fake drug smuggling case on political grounds. He spent nine years in jail just for writing the truth and now he is seriously ill but some people still want to take their revenge. "Champions of the press freedom should be ashamed of themselves that for nine years some one in their ranks is in prison but they are not saying a word. Rehmat Shah Afridi was punished because he disclosed that Nawaz Sharif received Rs. 150 crore from Osama bin Ladin in the Green Palace Hotel, Madina, with the pledge that the amount would be used for furthering the cause of Jihad in Afghanistan and helping the Mujahideen and exposing the deeds of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Instead he (Nawaz) put the whole amount in his pocket. Nawaz Sharif got annoyed with Afridi when he was chief minister of Punjab in 1986.Frontier Post Chief disclosed in his newspaper that Nawaze sold the commercial land between UCH and Kalma Chowk in Lahore to his relatives for meager Rs. 400 per marla. After that, he distributed plots in NWFP, Punjab and Balochistan among his colleagues and opponents to get their political support. He published all this in his newspaper along with proofs, which further infuriated Nawaz Sharif. Rehmat Shah Afridi used his personal links to thwart the "no-confidence motion" against Benazir Bhutto in 1990 and asked the members of National Assembly from Punjab, FATA and NWFP to use their vote in favour of Benazir Bhutto. Mr. Afridi did so as it was in the interest of the country at that time. Nawaz Sharif once threatened him that they would rule the country for 20 years and that he (Rehmat Shah) could not harm him through publishing news items against them. This proves all cases against The Frontier Post chief were false and baseless. Detention of Rehmat Shah Afridi is no more justified. Rehmat Shah Afridi had been arrested in a fake and bogus case because the then government was not happy with his bold editorial policy. The PPP government's pro-media and democratic credentials have already been enhanced by the proposed anti-PEMRA bill in parliament. It should now do the honourable and just thing by ordering the immediate release of Rehmat Shah Afridi and winning hearts and minds all round.
Saved from: http://www.thefrontierpost.com/News.aspx?ncat=le&nid=360&ad=22-05-200
Dated: Thursday, May 22, 2008, Jamad-i-Awal 14, 1429 A.H.
The Frontier Post