The Islamabad High Court (IHC) severely confronted the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) while hearing the applications against the Cybercrime Prevention (Amendment) Ordinance 2022.
During Friday’s hearing, ICC President Athar Minallah said the FIA was monitoring journalists. CJ Minallah asked is this what the FIA is supposed to do.
Referring to the case of journalist Bilal Ghouri, the head of the court said how the agency could take action against Ghouri. He just wrote a vlog and pointed to a book, Judge Min-Allah said.
The court had made similar statements during the March 30 session. What is the justification for “arrest authority” under PECA Amended Section 20? The court asked. If a journalist quotes a book, how does Section 20 apply to it? The FIA itself created a case to declare the section null and void.”
FIA Director-General Babar Bakht, who appeared in court on Friday, told the court that sometimes the agency arrests the suspect first and once a recovery is made, the FIR is saved.
Bakht’s statements angered the head of the court, who asked about what law such arrests are made.
Judge Minallah said you are not ashamed of what you do and present arguments to defend it.
The chief justice said that the FIR is registered in Lahore and that the raid took place in Islamabad, referring to the arrest of Mohsin Beg.
Maine God said someone should answer, people’s rights are being violated.
The Chief Justice said the standard operating procedures were brought before the court but were subsequently violated.
Once the law is enacted, the DG FIA said, the agency is pressured to enforce it.
The court said someone should be held accountable, tell us who is responsible, we need to make an order. After the pleadings ended, the court retained its ruling in the case and adjourned the session.