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Shooting, torturing journalists is lawlessness, says SC

There are legal ways of handling complaints, says judge

SAMAA | - Posted: Sep 13, 2021 | Last Updated: 3 months ago
Posted: Sep 13, 2021 | Last Updated: 3 months ago

A water tanker of Islamabad Capital Authority watering plants in front of Supreme Court. Photo: Online

The Supreme Court of Pakistan said Monday that the shooting and torture of journalists in lawlessness.

The remarks came during the hearing of a suo moto case regarding the harassment of journalists.

There are legal options available if anyone has issues with journalists, Qazi Muhammad Amin said. Shooting journalists or torturing them is tantamount to lawlessness, he added.

The court asked if those responsible for shooting a journalist in Islamabad have been apprehended?

Islamabad Police IG Qazi Jamil‑ur‑Rehman told the court that they had sent the footage of the attack to Nadra but the shooters could not be identified.

If suspects from the Minar-e-Pakistan incident can be arrested, why not the attackers of journalists, Justice Amin asked.

The IG should make sure that those who attack journalists are arrested, Justice Amin said. He told the IG it was his failure if the suspects have not been arrested.

The court said that it will not allow character assassination in the name of journalism. If I create a YouTube account and start character assassination of people, will it be considered journalism, asked Justice Munib Akhtar.

We will not provide protection to personal action in the name of journalism, said Justice Amin.

FIA receives 27 complaints against journalists in four years

FIA Director-General Dr Sanaullah Abbasi told the court that the investigation agency received 27 complaints against journalists in four years.

Out of 27 complaints, four were converted into inquiries and cases were registered, he said.

We will see if actions taken under the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act are in contradiction to Article 19 of the Constitution, Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan said.

No institution, including the FIA, will be allowed to exceed its authority, said Justice Ahsan.

The FIA applies the electronic crimes act first then thinks about it, he said.

Justice Akhtar warned that the FIA DG will be held responsible if any basic human right is violated.

We will issue guidelines which the government and all institutions will have to follow, said Justice Ahsan.

The court asked the DG and IG to submit details about the cases and attacks on journalists.

It summoned the DG FIA, IG Islamabad and Pemra chairman to appear before the bench at the next hearing and adjourned the case indefinitely.

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