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Pak: Scribes who helped trace Kasab's family held

By M Zulqernain
November 13, 2009 15:50 IST
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Two Pakistani journalists, arrested for allegedly misappropriating a press club's funds, have claimed that authorities are 'teaching them a lesson' for helping reporters trace the family of Ajmal Kasab, the lone terrorist captured alive during the Mumbai terror siege in November last year.

The arrested journalists -- Rab Nawaz Joya and Javed Kanwal Chandru -- belong to Depalpur sub-division in Okara district of Punjab province, where Kasab's hometown of Faridkot is located. Joya and Chandru are the president and general secretary of the Depalpur Press Club.

They were recently arrested on charges of allegedly misappropriating the press club's funds and attempting to steal a car. However, Joya and Chandru told reporters that they are being persecuted for assisting Pakistani and foreign journalists in tracing Kasab's family and home last year. Islamabad had initially denied that Kasab was a Pakistani national.

However, the government formally acknowledged his nationality after the Pakistani and foreign media traced Kasab's family in Faridkot.

Joya and Chandru said intelligence agencies had been harassing them since they assisted some Pakistani and foreign media teams, during their visits to Faridkot, to ascertain whether Kasab belonged to the village.

"The intelligence agencies finally got false cases registered against us," Joya said. He has urged Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to look into the matter.

Journalists of Depalpur held a protest on Thursday and shouted slogans against the 'high-headedness' of the police. They demanded the immediate release of the two journalists.

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M Zulqernain in Lahore
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