ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Thursday arrested news anchor Imran Riaz Khan, critical of the current government, on the charge of delivering a ‘hate speech’, Dawn reported.
The FIA further stated that Riaz was arrested in Lahore for making a “violence-inducing statement” aimed at creating “a rift between the general public and the state institutions”.
Earlier, Riaz’s counsel Mian Ali Ashfaq told Dawn.com that his client was taken into custody from the Allama Iqbal International Airport by FIA’s cybercrime wing.
He also said that the ‘illegal arrest’ of the journalist will be challenged in court, reported Dawn.
The FIA registered the first information report under sections 11 (electronic forgery), 20 (malicious code) and 24 (legal recognition of offences committed in relation to information system) of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes (Peca) 2016. Likewise, sections 131/109 (incitement to mutiny), 500 (punishment for defamation) and 505 (public mischief) of the Pakistan Penal Code have also been added to the FIR.
According to the FIR — a copy of which is available with Dawn.com — Khan was “found involved in publicly making a hate speech at a conference which falls under the territorial jurisdiction of FIA cyber crime cell”.
The complaint further states that the speech was further publicly shared on social media platforms nationally and internationally.
Earlier, in July, last year, Imran Riaz Khan was arrested in connection with a treason case registered against him in Attock, Pakistan’s Dawn reported. He was named in 17 treason cases across Punjab province, the report said.
In the latest First Information Report (FIR) against Khan, filed by a local resident of Lahore Muhammad Asift, alleged that Riaz accused the army of violating human rights and damaging the state by indulging in politics, according to Dawn.
Asif further said Khan had accused the army and said that they had put Pakistan’s integrity at stake, adding that the journalist committed an offence by inciting officers and other personnel of the army.
The complainant mentioned that recently, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had awarded army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa with the King Abdulaziz Medal for making “significant contributions to defence cooperation” between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
However, Lahore High Court on July 9 granted bail to Riaz Khan.
The court adjourned the hearing of the plea for the expulsion of cases till July 19 and also directed Khan to appear before the magistrate on the next working day.