FIA tells IHC case against ex-chairman PEMRA closed

ISLAMABAD - The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Monday informed the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that it had closed the case against former chairman Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) Absar Alam. 

The agency informed to a single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah who conducted hearing of the petition filed by the former chairman PEMRA challenging the summons issued to him by the FIA.  

During the hearing, the additional attorney general told the court that the case has been closed after seeking legal opinion in this case. He also submitted the FIA’s inquiry closure report in the case saying that it did not fall under the section 20 of Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) 2016. 

The additional attorney general requested the IHC bench to dispose of the matter related to FIA’s call up notice against Absar Alam. 

However, the IHC Chief Justice refused to dispose of the case and connected the matter with other similar petitions to decide the larger question of abuse of power under PECA.  Later, the court adjourned the hearing till September 27 for further proceedings. 

IHC bench hears petition filed by Absar Alam challenging summons issued to him by FIA

Previously, the IHC bench had issued notices to Secretary Interior, Director General (DG) Federal Investigation Agency and directed them to submit their reply in this matter. 

Absar Alam filed the petition in the IHC under Article 199 of Constitution through his counsel Sajid Tanoli. In his petition, the senior journalist and former chairman PEMRA challenged the summons issued to him by the FIA over his recent tweets and social media posts. 

The FIA had summoned him on a complaint filed by a lawyer who accused him of anti-state rhetoric. 

Absar, however, challenged the summons and contended that the FIA summoned him without providing details of the complaint. He said the summons was issued even after the date on which he was supposed to appear before the investigation officer. He termed the summon mala fide and requested the court to declare it as illegal and unlawful. 

He also prayed before the court to direct the FIA not to harass, humiliate, threat or arrest him in connection with the complaint lodged by a lawyer with the investigative agency. The Cyber Crime Reporting Centre of the FIA had issued notice to the former chairman PEMRA regarding a complaint that he had uploaded defamatory tweets against the State individuals, and departments through his Twitter account. 

The former chairman adopted that he highlighted human rights violations through his Twitter handle and tried to defend the aggrieved and deprived segments of the society, and also for the supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of law.

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