IHC issues show notice
to FIA director for
‘exceeding authority’
in raid on Mohsin’s house


ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday issued a show-cause notice to the director operations of the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Cyber Crime Wing for “exceeding authority” during a raid at the residence of media personality Mohsin Jamil Baig in Islamabad last week and asked him to submit his response.

The notice was issued by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah while hearing a petition filed by Baig’s wife seeking quashing of the first information report against her husband.

The FIA had on Feb 16 raided Baig’s residence in Islamabad and arrested him after he allegedly shot at and roughed up members of the raiding team. The raid was conducted following a complaint lodged by Communications Minister Murad Saeed who contended that his reputation was “tarnished” by Baig during a TV show.

Mohsin Baig talking about FIA’s torture to journalists.

Baig had accused the prime minister of “showing favouritism” by granting an award to Saeed, with whom he has “a close friendship”.Baig has been named in two cases — one registered with the FIA and the other with Margalla police.

The first case was registered at the FIA’s cyber crime reporting centre in Lahore on Saeed’s complaint about his “character assassination” during NewsOne talk show G for Gharidah, in which Baig was one of the panelists.

Subsequently, an FIA team raided Baig’s residence in Islamabad last week, taking action on Saeed’s complaint. During that raid, officials allege Baig shot at and roughed up members of the FIA team, following which he was arrested by police and a separate case was registered against him for attacking government officials.

During the hearing today, the court summoned FIA Director Cyber Crime Wing Babar Bakht Qureshi, following which he appeared before the court.

Justice Minallah grilled the FIA director, reminding him that the court had told the agency to not make arrests. “This court will take action against you. Your job is to protect people and not to restore the reputation of an elite person,” the IHC chief justice remarked.

ISLAMABAD: Police take along journalist Mohsin Jamil Baig after his case hearing at the Islamabad High Court on Monday

The FIA director read out the contents of the FIR on the directions of the court. Justice Minallah asked Qureshi whether the complainant had himself shared a video of the TV programme. “The FIA reserves the right to act against anyone under the law,” the Cyber Crime Wing director responded, to which the judge asked whether the FIA was above the law.

The court then asked the FIA director to read out comments made by Baig during the TV show and explain if there were any derogatory remarks.

Qureshi said the references from a book authored by Reham Khan, former wife of Prime Minister Imran Khan, were “defamatory”.

The court reiterated its objection and asked the FIA director whether the agency’s role was to ensure the protection of people or serve public officeholders.

Justice Minallah questioned the FIA official about the number of pending cases with the agency. In response, Qureshi said FIA had around 14,000 backlogs of cases. “Have you made any arrests in these cases?” the judge questioned.

Qureshi sought the court’s permission to read section 21-D (offences against modesty of a natural person and minor) of the Pakistan Penal Code. The judge remarked that it would only invite more embarrassment to the agency and nothing else.

Justice Minallah sought a written response from the FIA director as to who had asked him to “do all this”. He remarked that political leadership and not the society was responsible for what had transpired in the case.