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CM Punjab Askari, Chairman PEMRA call on Asad Kharal; inquire after health, progress of case

LAHORE: Caretaker Chief Minister Punjab Prof. Hassan Askari held a one-on-one meeting with senior investigative journalist Asad Kharal who was assaulted in Lahore, possibly for pursuing billions of rupees corruption and green channel smuggling cases. The meeting continued for more than one hour at the Chief Minister’s House.

As per details, Askari enquired about his health and expressed sorrow and grief on attack carried out on life of Asad Kharal. He sought details of the case registered after the attack from police officials and also sought report from the high level Joint Investigation Team (JIT).

Askari commended services of Kharal in field of investigative journalism and efforts for eradicating corruption from the country. Secretary to CM, Secretary Information Punjab and Secretary DGPR Punjab also met with Kharal.

Meanwhile, Chairman PEMRA Muhammad Aslam Baig, Executive Member PEMRA Ashfaq Jumani and GM PEMRA Fakhar Mughal also called on Asad Kharal at his residence. They enquired about his health and sought details on progress about the case registered against the attackers.

It is pertinent to mention that after attack on Kharal, a high level joint investigation team (JIT) was formed to probe the matter following directives from the Punjab government. The JIT comprised Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Military Intelligence (MI) and CTD officials. Then, head of JIT Shahzad Sultan constituted a sub-JIT to take the case ahead speedily.

The sub-JIT comprised four officers including SP Naveed, DSP Nasir Panjota, Inspector Imran and Inspector Rana Siddique. This JIT is extending full support to high level JIT to investigate case regarding attack on Asad Kharal who was pursuing most important cases of corruption in the Supreme Court and the NAB.

Meanwhile, Asad Kharal had registered an FIR under Section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act against unknown assailants who attacked him near Allama Iqbal International Airport in wee hours of June 6.

Asad Kharal is associated and contributes to Customs Today. His investigative journalism strength has enabled Customs Today to unearth many huge mega scams in customs department including Rs 1,000 billion green channel scam. It cannot be ruled out that he was attacked by ‘corrupt mafia’ of customs or smugglers of green channel due to his recent complaint on Rs 1,000 billion customs green channel scam published in Customs Today as the Chief Justice has taken notice of his appeal and complaint and called for reply from the concerned quarters within 10 days.

Kharal said he had neither enmity with anybody nor it was an incident of robbery. “They wanted to frighten me. They attacked me because I had sensitive information about corruption cases of Rs500-1000 billion per case in my USB and phones. I wanted to present them to the Supreme Court and the NAB.”

“Such tactics cannot scare me from my duty of public service and patriotism. The mafia can also target the chief justice and the NAB chairman and I advise them to step up their security. I have concrete evidence of corruption and the chief justice should summon me to his chamber to hear me,” he observed.

Asad Kharal is presently chief analyst and anchorperson at BOL. He is host of the famous TV program ‘Ab Pata Chala’. Asad Kharal is considered one of the most experienced and best investigative journalists of Pakistani media industry and had worked on several exclusive inside stories throughout his journalism career. During his around 20 years of journalism career, he had successfully worked for more than 2000 investigative stories for the print and electronic media of the country. He had also associated with several leading media groups of Pakistan including Express Tribune, Dunya Television and ARY News.

He has also an honour of winning “Investigative Journalist of the Year” award in 2003. Asad Kharal was co-hosting a program named “Andar Ki Baat” on ARY News. He had also written six books on different topics and worked for Chicago Sun Times and The Guardian as a freelancer.

Asad Kharal is also chairman of Tehlka News and Center for Investigative Journalism (CIJ). He is also associated and contributes to Customs Today. His Investigative Journalism strength has enabled Customs Today to unearth many huge mega scams in customs department including the Rs. 1,000 Billion green channel one.

It is pertinent to mention here that recently Asad Kharal repeatedly published full page appeals to the Chief Justice of Pakistan in Customs Today newspaper on the Rs. 1,000 Billion mega scam of green channel. Big names like Mobilink and QMobile are reported to be involved in the mega scam. Last Friday 1 June 2018, he appeared at the Supreme Court and filed complaint along with the copies of the appeals. He also filed two more complaints. Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar took notice of all three complaints and called for reports from relevant quarters within 10 days. In a letter dated Tuesday 5 June marked as Immediate/urgent, the court asked FBR chairman for reply and sent copy to the Chairman NAB for information and necessary action. On the very next day of this letter in the wee hours of June 6 Asad Kharal was attacked by ‘masked men’ near Allama Iqbal International Airport.

Asad Kharal has been active in unveiling many mega scams and corruption cases where big and powerful individuals, bureaucrats and political personalities are hooked. However, Asad Kharal is yet to accuse anyone of the attack.