Court orders journalist Chaudhry Ghulam Hussain's release

A Lahore district and sessions court on Saturday granted post-arrest bail to senior journalist and anchorperson Chaudhry Ghulam Hussain in a case pertaining to a bank fraud.

Ghulam was arrested on Thursday from a coffee shop in Lahore by the Federal Investigation Agency. The FIA spokesperson had said that the senior journalist was arrested by the Commercial Banking Circle of the agency.

According to a press release issued by the agency, Hussain was declared “wanted” in case number 94/2011 by the FIA’s Commercial Banking Circle.

An FIA spokesperson said that Ghulam had taken a loan worth over Rs50 million from a bank on fake documents in 2003, adding that two of his sons were also involved in the case.

He further said that a banking court in Lahore had issued non-bailable arrest warrants for the anchor in the case.

Read more: Septuagenarian TV anchor Ch Ghulam Hussain arrested in Lahore

On Saturday, district and session judge Tanveer Akhtar approved Ghulam's bail as the representative of FIA strongly opposed it, arguing the accused is allegedly involved in the bank fraud case.

On the other hand petitioner’s counsel senior advocate Azhar Siddique implored the court that the FIA created a concocted story that has nothing to do with reality. He said that his client is a senior journalist whom the FIA implicated in this case merely to humiliate and embarrass him.

According to the FIA, the journalist obtained Rs57 million loan from a bank in 2003 by submitting fake documents. His two sons had also been named in the case.

The FIA further added that a banking court in Lahore had also issued a perpetual warrant (non-bailable warrant) for Ghulam.

The FIA’s prosecutor, replying to an argument that Ghulam had not returned the loan he had obtained from the bank, told the court that the accused had secured the loan by submitting fake documents.

Azhar Siddique contended to the court that this case is more than a decade old and the FIR against Ghulam was registered in 2011. He questioned the court whether the FIA will work now for banks to recover money. The lawyer argued that the journalist had never been accused of submitting fake documents.

On Friday, when the anchor was presented before the court, the FIA submitted a plea seeking a physical remand of the journalist for 14 days.

The court asked the FIA prosecutor about how the anchor was appearing on national television every day if he had been declared a proclaimed offender in 2013. “What were you doing since 2013?”

Ghulam’s lawyer said that his client had no role in the case, adding that all the other people named in the case had been released. “Hussain has already returned 47 per cent of the amount as a guarantor.”

Meanwhile, Ghulam said that the property in question was worth Rs450 million out of which Rs250 million had already been paid. “This matter is now pending in the Supreme Court,” he added.

Subsequently, the court rejected the FIA’s plea for Ghulam’s physical remand and sent the journalist to jail on 14-day judicial remand and instructed the agency to return his identity card.

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