A Pakistani journalist has been sentenced to five years in prison and 10,000 rupees fine by the anti-terrorism court on December 31 over possession of literature against the state and spreading religious hatred. Nasrullah Khan Chaudhry, a journalist associated with Urdu-language daily 'Nai Baat' was first arrested in Karachi's Garden area on November 11, 2018, as per the charge sheet. He was alleged of carrying some journals and booklets about Afghan Jihad and the Punjabi Taliban which contained material intended to sow discord on sectarian grounds as well as to motivate people to participate in "jihad", cite Pakistani media reports.
Earlier, he was sentenced to six-month imprisonment and Rs 5,000 fine with the direction to serve 15 days imprisonment on default. The court cancelled his bail and sent him to prison. The journalist has been charged with offences punishable under Section 11-F (i) of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997 (a person is guilty of an offence if he belongs, or professes to belong, to a proscribed organisation), Section 11-W(i) (printing, publishing or disseminating any material to incite hatred or giving projection to any person convicted for a terrorist act or any proscribed organisation or an organisation placed under observation or anyone concerned in terrorism) and Section 7 (punishment for acts of terrorism).
The charge sheet cited the name of Khalid Mukshi, a leader of Al Qaeda with whom the journalist had links. Nasrullah Chaudhry denied the allegations and claimed that the three prosecution witnesses falsely deposed against him and in favour of the law enforcement agencies. On the other hand, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists and the Karachi Union of Journalists have expressed grave concern over Chaudhry's conviction. They noted that the government has been subjecting the journalists to torture, threats, and harassment.