ISLAMABAD, May 12 (APP): The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday instructed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to consult the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) on the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for taking actions on complaints against journalists.
Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard the matter of a campaign against the judiciary in the context of opening courts at night and alleged harassment of journalist Arshad Sharif by the FIA.
At the outset of hearing, the FIA adopted the stance that it was not harassing the journalist.
Arshad Sharif informed the court that ARY’s Bureau Chief Sabir Shakir was abroad and there was a risk of his arrest on return.
To a query by the bench, FIA Director Cyber Crime Wing said currently there was no complaint pending against Sabir Shakir.
The chief justice asked Arshad Sharif whether he was satisfied on the answer. On this, former PFUJ president Afzal Butt said there was still the risk of Sabir’s arrest and prayed the court to adjourn the hearing instead of disposing of the case.
The court directed that the FIA should also inform the media house of the journalist concerned if there was any complaint about him. Afzal Butt said if there was a complaint against anyone then the FIA should conduct investigation instead of arresting him / her.
The court instructed the FIA to also consult the PFUJ on the SOPs regarding cases against journalists to ensure transparency in its investigations.
The FIA director assured the court that the Agency would not harass any journalist and strictly follow the SOPs, which it had submitted to the court.
Faisal Chaudhry Advocate, former information minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain’s lawyer, argued that the activists of political parties were being arrested in treason cases now. The political parties should address such conflicts at their own, he added.
Fawad said an underaged boy was arrested from Peshawar in the fake video matter and was in the custody of Counter-terrorism Wing.
The further hearing of the case then adjourned till May 26.