July 09, 2022
LAHORE—The Lahore High Court granted bail to television anchor and vlogger Imran Riaz Khan on Saturday, a public holiday, asking him not to deliver any controversial speech till his appearance before a magistrate, Dawn reported.
According to the petition to either invalidate or combine all 18 accusations in one FIR before Justice Ali Baqar Najafi, the court was requested to suspend the "operations of all ... FIRs till the final decision of this case and direct the respondents to produce the petitioner before this honourable court and release the forthwith till the final disposal of the instant petition."
The journalist's lawyer argued that multiple cases could not be registered on the same charge and that the journalist's comments were based on good intentions. "Something said with good intentions is not a crime," he stated, emphasizing that Khan had said nothing against the army, and the registration of cases against him was "nothing but retaliation."
"The contents of 95 to 98 percent of all cases are exactly the same," the lawyer stated. He further said that the Constitution of Pakistan guaranteed freedom of expression to every citizen and once again said multiple cases could not be registered on a single charge.
According to him, the police did not even have the authority to register such an FIR as it came under the Federal Investigation Agency's domain. The lawyer further argued that the FIRs claimed those who had liked the journalist's alleged statement were also complicit in the crime, adding that two million people had liked his statement.
Justice Najafi, however, remarked at this point that the journalist had a responsibility because of his large following. He ordered the journalist to give an undertaking that he would not deliver any controversial speech till his appearance before a magistrate.
Khan assured the court that he would not deliver any controversial statement. The judge accepted the journalist's request and granted him bail, adjourning the next hearing till July 19.
The News, April 16, 2018
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