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Pakistan: Journalist arrested for spreading "anti-state" narrative, remanded in FIA custody for two days

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Islamabad | September 23, 2023 5:46:52 AM IST
An Islamabad district and sessions court on Friday remanded journalist Muhammad Khalid Jamil in the custody of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for two days, Pakistan-based Dawn reported.

The development comes after Jamil's arrest on Thursday night. According to FIA, Khalid Jamil was detained on charges of spreading a provocative narrative against state institutions through his posts on social media.

ABN News, the TV Channel with which Jamil is affiliated confirmed his arrest in a post shared on X. The first information report lodged by the agency said the accused was found sharing and propagating highly intimidating content/tweets on social media/Twitter (now X), Dawn reported.

The FIR invoked Section 20 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (Peca), which states: Whoever intentionally and publicly exhibits or displays or transmits any information through any information system, which he knows to be false, and intimidates or harms the reputation or privacy of a natural person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine which may extend to one million rupees or with both," Dawn reported.

In addition, the FIR included Section 505 (statement conducing to public mischief) of the Pakistan Penal Code. The FIR said, "The accused had knowingly misinterpreted and disseminated anti-state narrative by sharing false misleading and baseless information which are also likely to cause fear in the public and may incite anyone to commit an offence against the state or the state institution or public tranquillity."

The agency further said that the "accused persons including Muhammad Khalid Jamil propagated, promoted and glorified anti-state, provocative and hatred narrative against the state institutions. The FIA did not reveal details regarding other individuals involved in the alleged crime, according to Dawn report.

The agency called such intimidating content of blaming and naming through social media accounts a mischievous act of subversion to create a rift between the general public and state institutions to harm the state of Pakistan.

It further said that the accused through such intimidating content including videos "attempted to provoke the general public against the state institutions including judiciary, by trying to create a feeling of ill-will among pillars of the state."

The journalist community has condemned the arrest of Khalid Jamil. They have called for an explanation for the action taken by the agency.

Journalist Maria Memon expressed concern over the Federal Investigation Agencys (FIA) swift action in Jamils case. Menon spoke about the agency's inconsistency in their response to other online harassment cases.

Meanwhile, journalist Nusrat Javeed in a post shared on X stated, "Just got the news that @khalidjamil had been arrested by FIA. He had been a colleague of mine at @AajTv. Always found him extraordinarily soft and polite. Wonder how could he provoke trouble 4 him. The government surely needs a flawlessly credible story to defend his arrest." (ANI)

 
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