ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday issued a detailed order explaining reasons to quash the first information report (FIR) registered against rights activist Imaan Zainab Mazari-Hazir for her remarks against Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.
In the detailed order, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah observed that Imaan’s controversial remarks in context with the alleged kidnapping of her mother, Dr Shireen Mazari, against the army chief were neither recorded nor uploaded with her consent which manifested that there was no intent to commit an offence.
After the abduction of the former human rights minister by the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE), her daughter, Imaan, moved the IHC seeking her mother’s production order from the court. In a video clip which went viral on social media, she uttered remarks against Gen Bajwa and held him responsible for her mother’s kidnapping. Subsequently, an FIR was registered against Imaan Mazari-Hazir.
She then filed a petition seeking to quash the FIR against her, pleading thatshe made the remarks in a distressful state of mind and did not give a formal interview, and that someone recorded her and uploaded the video on social media.
The court order stated that, “the unequivocal apology and regret by the petitioner under peculiar circumstances has established that the crucial ingredient for constituting an offence is non-existent”.
The additional attorney general, representing the complainant, argued that the petitioner was expected to exercise care in future.
The court appreciated the stance taken by the additional attorney general on behalf of the complainant, terming it “fair”.
Justice Minallah expressed satisfaction over Ms Hazir’s statement following the registration of the FIR and observed that further proceeding in this matter “would be an exercise in futility”.
The court ruled that “the petition is therefore allowed and consequently the FIR is hereby quashed”.
A first information report (FIR) was registered against Mazari-Hazir on May 26 at the capital’s Ramna police station on the complaint of Lt Colonel Syed Humayun Iftikhtar, who was representing the Judge Advocate General (JAG) branch of the General Headquarters (GHQ).
The JAG branch of the Pakistan Armed Forces is composed of the military’s senior officers, lawyers and judges who provide legal services to the army, air force, navy, and marines at all levels of command. It falls under the law directorate of the army.
She had been booked under sections 505 (inciting people against armed forces) and 138 (abetment of act of insubordination by soldier) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
The FIR said that Mazari-Hazir had made a “derogatory and hateful” statement on May 21, the day her mother, former human rights minister Shireen Mazari, was arrested from outside her house in a land ownership and transfer case.
After her mother’s arrest, a video of a visibly distraught Mazari-Hazir was shared on social media in which she could be seen making statements about Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.