Nation Outrage as BOL Co-Chairman Shoaib Shaikh Illegally Arrested despite the Innocence Granted by Sindh High Court

Mr. Shaikh was arrested by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on charges of allegedly providing a bribe to a judge.


Nation Outrage as BOL Co-Chairman Shoaib Shaikh Illegally Arrested despite the Innocence Granted by Sindh High Court

The arrest of Bol’s Co-Chairman Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh has been widely condemned by all various segments of society, including the legal fraternity, politicians, and even ordinary citizens.

Mr. Shaikh was arrested by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on charges of allegedly providing a bribe to a judge. The arrest was made despite no credible evidence, even though he had agreed to become part of the investigation.

Politicians Condemn Arrest

Former prime minister and Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan condemned Shoaib Shaikh’s arrest. In his statement and address to the nation, the PTI chief said Mr. Shaikh was arrested for supporting his party. ‘BOL News has been providing complete coverage of PTI rallies and expressed support for Imran Khan. This has irked the current government which has attempted to clamp down on the coverage by pressuring and even banning the channel’s transmission on several occasions.’

He further added that despite all kinds of pressure, Shoaib Shaikh remained steadfast and stood by real journalism, which is the defining characteristic of a democratic leader.

He said the government has been pressuring the media to not give him and his party coverage, leading to a complete blackout on TV channels. However, Shoaib Shaikh supported him despite immense pressure.

PTI senior leader Fawad Chaudhry said arresting BOL’s Co-Chairman Shoaib Shaikh once again was beyond comprehension as he was already found not guilty in the case. The former Information Minister said arresting Shoaib Shaikh was an attempt to suppress the voice of BOL News. The entire country stands with Shoaib Shaikh and the current government will not be able to sabotage press freedom.

PTI’s Murad Saeed said Shoaib Sheikh was warned that he would have to pay a heavy price, like every person who stands for the truth. He added as time passes by, they will face the reality.

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PTI Senator Azam Swati strongly condemns Shoaib Shaikh’s illegal arrest. Swati was himself the victim of such unethical tactics by the current government before he was given a reprieve by the courts.

Senator Swati said Shoaib Shaikh’s only crime is unveiling the corruption and draconian measures committed by the current regime. He said the arrest is yet another attack on the freedom of the press and the rule of law is nowhere in sight.


Legal Fraternity 

The FIA has filed another case against Shoaib Shaikh and arrested him from Islamabad. The legal fraternity and media community has also strongly condemned the arrest.

Senior lawyer Latif Khosa has argued that the allegations leveled at Mr. Shaikh were ‘ridiculous’. He said the inquiry was conducted in 2018. “What is the point of opening the case after five years?” he asked

He condemned the arrest and said the Sindh High Court has ordered to acquit Shoaib Shaikh. He said there cannot be two FIRs filed in one case and there was no justification for arresting Shaikh.

Former Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Anwar Mansoor added Shoaib Shaikh’s release is necessary after the order of the Sindh High Court.

He said the government wants to push the BOL’s chairman into bogus cases to stop him from speaking up for what right, but he will not cowers down. He further said after the Sindh High Court’s order, the case cannot proceed in Islamabad as the FIA found no evidence against Shoaib Shaikh.

Senior lawyer and former Supreme Court Bar Association President Abid Zuberi said there was no evidence against Shoaib Shaikh and the SHC ordered to acquit him. Shoaib Shaikh was raising his voice for the independence of the judiciary.


Journalists’ Solidarity 

The media community also condemned the arrest of Mr. Shoaib Shaikh and also showed solidarity with BOL News. Two prominent journalist bodies – Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ) – strongly condemned the arrest.

PFUJ Secretary General Rana Azeem said the arrest was an attack on the freedom of the press. He said preparations are being made to impose restrictions on BOL News under a conspiracy. He warned that any kind of ban on BOL News will not be tolerated.

Karachi Union of Journalists also strongly condemned the arrest of Bol Media Group’s Co-chairman Shoaib Shaikh. KUJ President Faheem Siddiqui said that actions against media houses are unacceptable and the arrest and harassment of journalists are condemnable.

Sindh Journalists Council said that Shoaib Sheikh’s arrest has given a message to the media. It said that journalists consider the action tantamount to curtailing freedom of expression. Such arrests will create anarchy in the country and the federal government should avoid such practices.

Balochistan Union of Journalists also condemned the arrest and said that the government is causing disrepute to the country by taking continuous actions against journalists and media organizations.

BUJ President Irfan Saeed said that the government’s anti-media actions are causing concern among BOL’s audience and the journalist community.


Social Media Campaign 

The arrest of BOL TV Co-Chairman Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh was also widely condemned on social media soon became the top trend in Pakistan.

Social media users expressed outrage that the Co-Chairman of their favorite channel has been arrested in a frivolous case. They said the arrest was another attempt to suppress Pakistan’s No. 1 channel.

A campaign was launched condemning the illegal arrest of Shoaib Shaikh and calling for this immediate. The hashtag #ReleaseShoaibShaikh was widely used on Twitter and soon became the top trend in Pakistan.

The campaign has growing traction day by day after the arrest with multiple more trends like #IStandWithShoaibShaikh and #ISupportShoaibShaikh. Social media users have been at the forefront of the campaign in support of BOL and Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh.

The outpouring of support demonstrates solidarity with BOL News. They said any attempts to suppress BOL or intimidate its management will not be accepted.

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