Pakistan asks Karzai to pardon jailed reporter

Minister says Pakistan using diplomatic channels for reporter’s release

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan on Thursday appealed to Afghan President Hamid Karzai to issue a pardon to a journalist facing a four-year jail term in Afghanistan for contacting ‘terrorists.’

Faizullah Khan, a reporter with a private TV channel ARY news, was arrested in April by Afghan security forces in Nangarhar province. He was sentenced earlier this month to four years in jail for entering without travel documents and communicating with militant sources.

Minister for Information Pervez Rashid urged Karzai to issue a presidential pardon. "I appeal to Afghan president Hamid Karzai to use his powers," to pardon Faizullah Khan, Rashid said in a press conference in Islamabad. He said Pakistan was also using diplomatic channels for the release of its journalist.

"Both the ministry of interior and the ministry of information have been pursuing this matter from day one, the day he was arrested," he added. Rashid said Pakistan respected Afghanistan's judicial system and was appealing the verdict in an Afghan court.

Journalist organisations have staged protest rallies across Pakistan and have demanded the Afghan government release Karachi-based journalist before the Eid-ul-Fitr, expected on Tuesday.

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