The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has issued a contempt notice to the director operations of the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Cyber Crime Wing for “exceeding authority” during a search on journalist Mohsin Baig’s apartment in Islamabad last week, and has ordered him to respond.
While hearing a plea submitted by Baig’s wife seeking to have the first information report against her husband quashed, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued the notice.
Baig accused the prime minister of “favouritism” for bestowing an award on Saeed, with whom he had “a strong connection.”
Baig has been implicated in two separate cases, one with the FIA and the other with the Margalla Police Department.
Saeed’s complaint about “character assassination” on NewsOne chat programme G for Gharida, in which Baig was a participant, led to the first case being filed at the FIA’s cyber crime reporting centre in Lahore.
The court called FIA Director Cyber Crime Wing Babar Bakht Qureshi at today’s hearing, and he appeared before the court.
The FIA head was quizzed by Justice Minallah, who reminded him that the court had ordered the agency not to make any arrests. “You will be prosecuted by this court.” The top justice of the IHC observed, “Your role is to safeguard people, not to restore the reputation of an elite person.”
On the court’s orders, the FIA director recited the contents of the FIR. Qureshi was questioned by Justice Minallah if the complainant had shared a footage of the TV show.
The court inquired if the FIA was above the law, to which the Cyber Crime Wing director replied, “The FIA reserves the right to act against anyone within the law.”
On February 16, the FIA stormed Baig’s home in Islamabad and detained him after he reportedly fired at and roughed up raiding team members. The raid was carried out in response to a complaint filed by Communications Minister Murad Saeed, who claimed that Baig had “tainted” his name on a TV broadcast.