PTI challenges FIA notices over controversial social media post

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has formally contested the notices issued by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to its senior leadership, including Barrister Gohar Khan, Secretary General Omar Ayub, and spokesperson Raoof Hasan. These notices relate to a contentious post shared on the verified social media account of former Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Background of the case

The FIA’s notices claim that the post, shared on May 26, contained “highly obnoxious and inciting content against state institutions.” The post included a montage urging the public to study the Hamoodur Rahman Commission report to discern “who was the true traitor,” referencing General Yahya Khan and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

According to the FIA, this content had the potential to incite fear and provoke actions against state institutions, thereby endangering public tranquility. The PTI leaders were summoned to appear before FIA Sub-Inspector Muhammad Monib Zafar at the Cyber Crime Reporting Centre to provide their statements. The notices warned that failure to appear could lead to proceedings under Section 174 of the Pakistan Penal Code, which prescribes a one-month prison term for non-compliance with a summons.

PTI’s legal response

In its legal plea, PTI has argued that the controversial post was intended to promote national dialogue and address the country’s ongoing crises, rather than incite mutiny or unrest. The petition calls for the court to nullify the FIA notices and prevent any harassment of PTI leaders by the agency. The plea also highlights a potential conflict of interest, noting that the FIA’s deputy director, who filed the complaint, might not be impartial.

The party has named the interior ministry, the FIA officer who lodged the complaint, and the investigation officer as respondents in the case.

Developments in the investigation

Amid these legal maneuvers, a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) from Lahore interrogated former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi at Adiala Jail regarding his alleged involvement in the violence that occurred on May 9. The eight-member team, led by SP Usman, questioned Qureshi for over two hours before returning to Lahore.

Court proceedings on Qureshi’s cases

Meanwhile, Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Amir Farooq has demanded a detailed report from the Assistant Attorney General (AAG) on all cases filed against Qureshi. During the court session, Qureshi’s daughter, Mehar Bano Qureshi, and her lawyer, Barrister Taimur Malik, revealed that 17 cases were registered against him in Islamabad and 38 in Punjab. They stated that Qureshi was in Karachi on May 9, contesting claims linking him to the day’s events in other locations.

The AAG confirmed there were no cases against Qureshi in Sindh, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The court, surprised by the high number of cases, scheduled the next hearing for the following week, pending the submission of additional reports.

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