Islamabad on Thursday appealed to Afghan president Hamid Karzai to issue a pardon to a journalist facing a four-year jail term in Afghanistan for entering the country illegally.
Faizullah Khan, a reporter with 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.
Pervez Rashid, Pakistan’s minister for information, 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.
Wafiullah Usmani, the head of the national security court of Nangarhar, in eastern Afghanistan, last week said that Khan had no travel documents at the time of his arrest. Khan was arrested with two members of the Pakistani Taliban on the Afghan side of the border, he said.
Pakistani journalist organizations have staged protest rallies across the country and have demanded the Afghan government release Karachi-based Khan before Eid-ul-Fitr, expected on Tuesday.