Court orders release of journalist Imran Riaz Khan

A local court in Lahore ordered the immediate release of TV anchorperson Imran Riaz Khan on Friday after the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) failed to establish the accused's connection with the allegations made in the FIR

According to lawyer Mian Ali Ashfaq, the anchorperson was taken into custody by the agency’s Lahore office at the Allama Iqbal Airport on Thursday when was trying to board a flight to the UAE

"Imran Riaz Khan was arrested by FIA and taken into custody at an unknown place

The airport staff misinformed the public at the scene and escorted him via backdoor entrances," read a tweet posted by Riaz's social media team

Read more: Journalist Imran Riaz Khan 'arrested by FIA' The FIA’s cybercrime cell had registered an FIR against the journalist under alleged charges of using defamatory and derogatory remarks against state institutions and former Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Qamar Javed Bajwa

The FIA official told Imran that his name was on the blacklist and he was subsequently handed over to the FIA cybercrime wing

FIA produced Imran before Magistrate Ghulam Murtaza Virk on Friday where his counsel barrister Mian Ali Ashfaq pleaded to the court that even if the whole speech was re-produced and their request for remand, as well as FIR, was treated as gospel truth, no offence could be proven

He argued that freedom of speech was guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution which could not be snatched arbitrarily from a citizen of the state

He implored the court that the journalist had filed applications before FIA, Lahore High Court, and Supreme Court of Pakistan seeking directions to concerned quarters to provide details of the FIR, if registered anywhere, so that he could join the investigation but this was registered prior to the filing of the writ petition in the LHC and have not been disclosed by the FIA

Moreover, it is interesting to mention that cyber patrolling was made by Hamza Munir, the Sub Inspector himself lodged the FIR and also investigated the case which is a sheer violation of the rules of investigation and process of criminal law

The investigating officer had requested 14 days of physical remand of the accused for completion of the investigation and recovery of social media accounts — Twitter and YouTube — along with their passwords

However, the magisterial court turned down the request for further remand and discharged the accused from the FIR

Date:04-Feb-2023 Reference:View Original Link