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Friday January 27, 2023

FIA arrests journalist Mohsin Baig on Murad Saeed’s complaint

According to details, FIA raided the journalist's house in the federal capital and took him into custody

February 16, 2022
Journalist Mohsin Baig. — Facebook/File
Journalist Mohsin Baig. — Facebook/File

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has apprehended journalist Mohsin Baig from his home on the complaint of Federal Minister Murad Saeed days after he passed “derogatory remarks” about the top-performing minister during a TV show.

The FIA's Cyber Crime Wing (CCW) raided the journalist's house in the federal capital today and took him into custody.

As per a statement issued by the law enforcement agency, the officials raided Baig's house in Islamabad’s Sector F8 on the complaint of Murad Saeed. The FIA conducted the raid after obtaining a formal search and seizure warrant from the court, read the statement.

"During the raid, Mohsin Baig and his son and servants directly fired at the FIA team and made two officials hostage," said the investigation agency.

It added that Baig was arrested after he ran out of bullets and was taken to Margalla police station where legal proceedings are underway.

According to the first information report (FIR), filed at the FIA’s CCW Lahore, Baig had used “immoral language” for Murad Saeed in a talk show.

It said Baig had narrated a "baseless story with derogatory remarks" which was subsequently shared on social media and had "shattered" the federal minister's image in public.

Journalist Baig has been critical of the government's policies and used to appear in TV talk shows as an analyst.

Baig’s son told Geo News that FIA officials in plainclothes came to the house earlier today and arrested his father.

“Initially, we thought that they (FIA personnel) are thieves and opened fire in the air but later they introduce themselves as law enforcers. We also asked them to show arrest warrants but they didn’t have. Meanwhile, a police party also came to our house.”

The FIA “faced resistance” during the raid and “dragged” the journalist to the van.

This is the second arrest made by the law enforcement agencies during the past week over anti-government commentary.

Petition filed against 'illegal detention'

Following the arrest, a petition was filed against the “illegal detention” of the journalist.

The petition, filed by Baig's lawyer Raheel Niazi, was heard by additional sessions judge Justice Zafar Iqbal. The court then appointed a bailiff, ordering the authorities to produce Baig in court.

The lawyer informed the judge that people in plainclothes came to Baig’s house earlier today and took the journalist with them.

The journalist and his family members sought arrest warrants and search warrants from the SP and DS; however, they defied all requests.

The lawyer further added that the officials in plainclothes smashed mobile phones and hit the children at the house, taking Baig with them.

Police sources said that the Baig is currently being interrogated at the Margalla police station. They revealed that his family called 15 and police immediately responded to the complaint.

Meanwhile, the Islamabad police spokesperson said that FIA faced resistance and Baig opened fire due to which an FIA official was injured.

“Baig has been transferred to the police station and further legal action is being taken,” the spokesperson said.

Mohsin Baig handed over to police on three-day remand

Meanwhile, the FIA presented Mohsin Baig before an anti-terrorism court in the federal capital and sought his physical remand.

During his appearance before the court, Baig's lawyer said that the FIA officials raided his house in plain clothes without informing the local police. 

“I thought, dacoits have entered in his house,” he told the judge.

Baig’s counsel said that the FIA officials conducted a raid at his client’s house in plain clothes in violation of the IHC’s clear directions.

FIA officials subjected him to severe torture in the police station and broke his ribs, he said and pleaded the court to order a medical examination of his client.

At this, the judge said that investigations into the incident will ascertain what actually happened there. The journalist's lawyer told the court that his client had licences for all his weapons, adding that the entire incident was captured by CCTV cameras.

Bilawal demands release of journalist

Condemning the arrest, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said that Baig’s arrest has shown “Imran Khan’s weakness.”

“[PM] Imran Khan Imran Khan is afraid of self-criticism lest people become aware of his truth,” Bilawal said, adding that during PTI’s tenure, terrorists are fleeing while journalists are being arrested.

He further added that Baig was dragged in front of his family and arrested as if he was a terrorist.

“[The] PTI government should release journalist Mohsin Baig immediately,” Bilawal demanded.

‘Cheap and intolerable act’

On Monday, the FIA had arrested a social media activist for "running trends against the prime minister" on social media.

A case had been registered against the accused named Sabir Hashmi after the FIA conducted an operation in Lahore’s Model Town area.

According to the FIA, Sabir was accused of running an “indecent” trend against PM Imran Khan. The agency has seized Hashmi’s mobile phone and other belongings.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a meeting of the ruling party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC), during which he expressed displeasure over the indecent trend that consisted of personal attacks.

Condemning the act, the premier called it “cheap and intolerable”, adding that “such elements cannot be left unchecked and their actions have to be condemned.”

Social media trends

On the other hand, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Communication Shahbaz Gill on Sunday had said that the government had approached the country's courts against a journalist who issued "insulting and fabricated" statements about First Lady Bushra Bibi.

The SAPM said that "strict legal action will be taken against those who spread false news about the first lady."

A day ago, a journalist had claimed that Bushra Bibi had "gotten into a fight with PM Imran Khan" and had left Bani Gala for Lahore to stay at her friend, Farah Khan's house. The rumour soon started spreading on social media and WhatsApp groups.

When approached by Geo News, Farah Khan also refuted the news of the couple's alleged fight and separation and denied that the first lady was staying at her place.