LAHORE: A city court on Friday dismissed a case registered by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) against TV anchor Imran Riaz Khan and ordered his immediate release.

Imran Riaz was arrested from Lahore on Thursday on charges of making a ‘violence-inducing statement’ aimed at creating a ‘rift between the general public and the state institutions’.

Imran Riaz was produced before the court of a magistrate amid tight security. His counsel contended before the court, “21 cases of a similar nature are already registered against his client.” The lawyer asked the court whether it was a crime to ask the public whether or not the army was involved in politics.

He said it was not a crime to make this statement. He contended that merely telling one to ‘stay within your constitutional limits’ was not a crime. “Imran Riaz did not target any institution,” he added. He said, “the FIA officials watched Imran Riaz’s vlogs regularly then why did they not take action earlier?”

He said that the FIA requested the 14-day remand only to obtain the Twitter and YouTube password of Imran Riaz’s accounts. He contended that the FIA had not given any reason for seeking his client’s physical remand. The counsel concluded his arguments, saying there was “no need for further recovery” because his client had already confessed that he had passed the statement.

He, therefore, asked the court to dismiss the case against his client.

Imran Riaz was arrested from the Allama Iqbal Airport when he was leaving for the UAE. The FIA told him that his name was on the black list and hence could not leave the country.

He was subsequently handed over to the FIA cybercrime wing which produced him before a court of law for physical remand. The FIA registered the first information report under sections 11, 20 and 24 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes (Peca) 2016. Likewise, sections 131/109, 500 and 505 of the Pakistan Penal Code have also been added to the FIR.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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