IHC Chief Justice lambastes FIA’s ‘censorship’ tactics

Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah during a May 7 hearing into a challenge petition submitted journalist Asad Ali Toor (who was accused of ‘maligning state institutions’ in September 2020) termed the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) use of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) 2016 against media personnel the ‘worst example of censorship’.

The IHC Judge also remarked on the FIA had been partial in initiating investigations, illustrating that the court had never seen the Agency come forward with a case against government officials. He also questioned whether section 20 of the Act (malicious code) contradicted Articles 14 (inviolability of the dignity of man), 19 (freedom of speech) and 19A (right to information) of the Constitution of Pakistan 1973.

The court sought a response from the FIA and amicus curiae, and adjourned the hearing until after Eid holidays.

Illegally detained man recovered from CIA station

The bailiff on an Additional District and Sessions Court on Thursday, May 6, managed to recover one Khalid Mehmood who had been unlawfully detained in the lockup of a Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) station in Okara.

Mehmood’s counsel, Advocate Rana Shakeel Ahmed Sulehria, filed a habeas corpus petition in the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Muhammad Tariq Ayub, providing that the petitioner had been picked up from his home in Allah Dad Colony by DSP Mehr Muhammad Yousaf, the CIA In-Charge, a police driver, and constables Ijaz and Boota and illegally detained his at the CIA police station.

Upon his recovery, the court recorded Mehmood’s statement and set him free after the police clerk failed to produce a criminal record or FIR. The court further directed District Police Officer (DPO) Faisal Shahzad to initiate proceedings against the officials.

Protests against allegedly staged encounter killing

The family of one Sajid Baloch, who had been killed in an alleged staged encounter, appealed to Prime Minister Imran Khan to take notice into the extrajudicial murder of the youth in Bahawalnagar on Thursday, May 6.

According to the slain man’s mother, Sajid had no criminal record. However, he had a recent falling out with a cousin, an influential landlord and known offender, and was framed in a fake robbery case. She provided that Haroonabad police lodged a case against Sajid and two days later arrived on their doorstep to arrest the youth. Sajid was reportedly gunned down in front of his home in Chak 72/4R in a fake encounter, with the police positing him as a dangerous criminal.

The police, however, stated that Sajid was accused of stealing one Azam Khan’s car. When they arrived at his home to make the arrest, the youth along with his accomplices opened fire, leaving an ASI, constable and a passerby injured. Haroonabad police further claimed that Sajid was killed in friendly fire.