IHC clubs pleas against FIA’s ‘misuse of authority’

Court reissues notice to agency, seeking its reply in journalist case by Sept 20


Our Correspondent September 04, 2021
Islamabad High Court. PHOTO: IHC WEBSITE

ISLAMABAD:

The Islamabad High Court on Friday clubbed all the petitions filed against the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for allegedly misusing its authority and gave it more time to file its response.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah expressed displeasure over the FIA’s failure in filing a reply to the notice issued by the court.

The court re-issued the notice, seeking the agency’s reply in the case against journalist and former Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) chairman Absar Alam by September 20.

The chief justice remarked that the FIA did not respond to criticism, but sent notices to those whose opinion it did not like.

During the hearing, Journalist Defence Committee members Usman Warraich, Iman Mazari, Sajid Tanoli and Colonel (retd) Inamur Rehman appeared in court.

The FIA’s lawyer informed the court that a lawyer had lodged a complaint against Alam.

The lawyer pleaded with the court that another case against the FIA’s alleged misuse of powers was pending, which should be clubbed with the current case.

The chief justice said the court was looking into the matter to ensure that the FIA had not misused its powers.

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The chief justice further remarked that social media was a challenge as there were false news and the agenda, but it did not mean that any institution acted outside the law.

The court gave the FIA time to file its response and adjourned the hearing till September 20.

In March this year, the IHC had suspended a notice issued by the FIA to Alam.

The IHC also summoned the investigation officer of the FIA to appear in person before the court on the next hearing.

Alam had filed a petition in the IHC under Article 199 of the Constitution through his counsel Sajid Tanoli.

In his petition, the senior journalist challenged the summons issued to him by the FIA over his tweets and social media posts.

The FIA had summoned him on a complaint filed by a lawyer who accused him of anti-state rhetoric.

Alam, however, challenged the summons and contended that the FIA summoned him without providing details of the complaint.

He maintained that the notices were issued even after the date on which he was supposed to appear before the investigation officer.

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