May 09, 2022
ISLAMABAD—According to a press release, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has initiated an inquiry against prominent BOL News TV anchor Sami Ibrahim for allegedly transmitting "anti-state" videos and statements on various social media platforms by FIA.
The agency, accusing Ibrahim of being "involved in spreading fake news regarding state institutions," said, "He has made imputations that are glaring attempts to incite armed forces personnel to mutiny. He has attempted to create chaos in Pakistan through media while staying abroad."
The inquiry was being initiated under Section 20 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) 2016 (which had criminalized defamation), read with Section 505 (statement conducing to public mischief) of the PPC.
The FIA, however, said the anchor would have an opportunity to defend himself in the inquiry, which would be closed if he ably defended himself. Otherwise, if the offense was made out, then a case would be registered against Ibrahim, and he would be arrested and prosecuted in court.
The FIA also issued an attendance notice to the anchor, which ordered him to appear at the FIA Cybercrime Reporting Centre in Islamabad on May 13 (Friday) at 11 am to record his defense. Otherwise, it would be assumed that he had nothing to present in his defense, and procedure under Section 174 (non-attendance in obedience to an order from public servant) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) would be adopted against him.
"...you have built a narrative with ill intent to cause intimidation ... and unrest between government officials/personnel of armed forces and the general public," the FIA said.
It further warned that an Interpol red notice would be issued for arresting Ibrahim since he was abroad, and his name would be placed on the Exit Control List (ECL).
The FIA, a day earlier, had sought Section 20's restoration on Saturday by filing a petition before the Supreme Court to challenge the April 8 order of the IHC.
However, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb announced that the petition stood "withdrawn immediately" after journalists' and media bodies expressed severe concern over the move and demanded immediate withdrawal of the petition.
The FIA spokesperson also admitted that the appeal was filed without getting permission from the government, particularly the Ministry of Interior. "The appeal is being withdrawn immediately," the FIA spokesperson stated.
Pakistan Observer, December 18, 2016
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