Wednesday May 18, 2022

Blasphemous material on social media: IHC hints at action against FIA officials over negligence

January 25, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday summoned the director Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on next hearing along with original record of all cases related to uploading of blasphemous material on social media.The court expressed displeasure over missing original documents in the case and remarked that it would send the director Cyber Crime Wing and others to jail if their negligence was proved in it. The court also hinted at initiating action against the Director General FIA in the same matter.

During the course of proceeding, Justice Aamer Farooq inquired whether the FIA had submitted a report pertaining to blasphemous material complaints. At this, the assistant Attorney General answered in yes and said a detailed report had been filed.

Additional Director FIA Legal Sheikh Aamer said 13 complaints out of total of 17 had been disposed of on several grounds after the inquiry. However, action was taken on remaining four complaints and cases were registered in this regard.

To a query, the FIA official said his department had requested the concerned social media platforms to provide details in 13 complaints but they did not provide it. However, the complaints were disposed of after the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) blocked the said pages.

The petitioner's lawyer alleged that the FIA was giving a false statement as it did not have even their original complaints. The FIA is now presenting reports on basis of just assumptions, he said, adding that the reports submitted by the FIA had no attached copies of their applications.

On a question, the FIA said they had the original applications in their record and they were ready to present them. Justice Farooq said if the original record was not found, then action would be taken against FIA officials under the contempt of court law. The FIA requested the court to grant some time to view the record.

At this, the IHC expressed annoyance over the FIA and said blasphemous material was a serious crime. The court remarked that the DG FIA would also go to jail if negligence of the department was proved.

The court said it would also have serious consequences if the FIA tried to harass the complainants or sought applications again from them. The court asked the FIA that why trail of two cases was being conducted in Peshawar while the complaints were registered in Islamabad. And why the complainants were not made as plaintiff in these cases, Justice Farooq questioned. The court adjourned the hearing till February 21.