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Pakistan’s govt top lawyer denies filing reference against judge termed FIA raid illegal

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ISLAMABAD: Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Javed Khan has denied filing a reference against Additional Session Judge Zafar Iqbal of Islamabad over his verdict in journalist Mohsin Baig’s case.

Cyber Crime Unit of FIA had raided the journalist’s house on Wednesday in the capital, along with the police, and took him into custody on the complaint of Communications and Postal Services Minister Murad Saeed.

But a court in Islamabad had declared the FIA’s raid at journalist Mohsin Baig’s residence illegal, hours after he had been arrested.

“…illegal raid was conducted at the house of [Baig] by irrelevant persons who were not authorized to do so,” Additional Sessions Judge Islamabad West Zafar Iqbal had stated in the judgment of a petition filed against the journalist’s arrest.

On Thursday, the government had announced to file a reference against the judge after he ruled the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) raid illegal at the senior journalist’s home.

The journalist has been critical of the government’s policies and used to appear on TV talk shows as an analyst.

Talking in a talk show on local tv, Attorney General Khalid Javed said that the government is not going to file a reference against Islamabad’s Additional Session Judge Zafar Iqbal.

References cannot be filed based on a judge’s verdicts, nor should be unless evidence or appellate court decision proves the judge’s misconduct, he added.

AGP Khalid Javed was of the view that a review petition can be filed against the verdict but not a reference.

Reference against Islamabad judge

Advocate General (AG) Islamabad Niazullah Niazi had met Prime Minister Imran Khan and briefed him about the case, According to local media reports,

After meeting with the prime minister, Niazullah Niazi had told local media that an administrative petition will be filed in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against the judge, who presided over the hearing of Mohsin Baig’s case regarding the FIA raid at his home.

Niazullah Niazi went on to say that the judge’s observations during the case hearing were prejudiced and outside of his jurisdiction. He had claimed that the same observation had been used to dismiss the FIR filed against journalist Mohsin Baig.

Also on Friday, The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has stated that judges could not be “intimidated or threatened” and ordered the police to take action by the law on pleas to quash cases against senior journalist Mohsin Baig.

The ICC Justice Athar Minallah heard the petitions of the wife of journalist Mohsin Baig. Her lawyer Latif Khosa claimed that the veteran journalist was subjected to torture in police custody.

The chief justice said it was not a habeas corpus writ and the accused himself could file a petition to quash cases against him. “No third person can file such a petition. You can change your petition,” he observed. He inquired whether the accused did not want to file a petition to quash the cases.

The IHC ordered the police chief to investigate the alleged torture of Baig at the police station and present a report on February 21.

Chief Justice Athar Minallah directed the district magistrate to inspect the Margalla Police Station, seeking an inquiry report on the allegations of violence.

Two different cases have been registered against Mohsin Baig with the police and FIA under various sections of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and the Anti-Terrorist Act (ATA).

The Margalla Police Station has registered the First Information Report (FIR) under sections 324/342/353/Inquiry No535/2022 dated 16.02.2022 on the complaint of Murad Saeed.

The minister in his complaint stated that he stood first among all the ministries and was given the excellent performance award by the prime minister.

He said on 10th Feb 2022, Mohsin Baig attacked his character by using abusive and immoral language in a local tv talk show.

He alleged that in the presence of other participants, Baig related a baseless story with derogatory remarks, and the same was thereafter shared through social media, including YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook which damaged his pubic reputation.

According to a first information report (FIR), filed at the FIA’s CCW Lahore, Baig had used “immoral language” for Murad Saeed in the talk show.

It said Baig had narrated a “baseless story with derogatory remarks” which was subsequently shared on social media and had “shattered” the federal minister’s image in public.

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