Suspension notices against journalists extended till July 30

IHC instructs FIA to provide copy of complaint to Asad Toor

Saqib Bashir July 01, 2021
Suspension notices against journalists extended till July 30


The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday extended the suspension notices issued by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to journalists Bilal Ghauri and Asad Toor until July 30 and sought a reply.

These orders were given as the IHC disposed of the petition filed by private TV anchorperson Shiffa Yousafzai against journalist Asad Toor.

The bench instructed FIA to provide a copy of the complaint to Asad Toor and carry out the action in accordance with the law. Shiffa’s lawyer Jawad Hussain Adil appeared before the court on behalf of FIA as IHC Chief Justice Ather Minallah heard the case against abuse of power by the FIA’s Cybercrime Wing.

During the hearing, FIA Cybercrime Director Babar Bakht appeared before the court. The court said that it repeatedly gave instructions to FIA but the orders were not implemented.

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Minallah remarked that they have thousands of complaints pending against the cybercrime wing. He added there are some basic rights that must be taken care of as well. “You have to exercise your authority carefully,” he stated.

The court told the FIA official to dispel the impression that the cybercrime wing is misusing its powers. The bench remarked that the notices issued by the agency have a threatening effect, adding that it must be ensured that the whole process is fair.

The chief justice asked, “If a person says that something has been said somebody, will it become a crime?”. He stated that only a person whose reputation has been tarnished could be a complainant.

The court warned that if the agency’s investigator misuses his powers, the court will impose an exemplary fine. The director said that they have sent IHC’s orders all over the country and they are being implemented.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 1st, 2021.


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