ISLAMABAD    -   The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday issued notices to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in a petition of a journalist Arshad Sulehri who approached the court against the alleged harassment of FIA Cyber Crime Wing. 

A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah conducted hearing of the petition of Sulehri, who moved the court through his counsel Muhammad Sajid Khan Tanoli. 

The IHC bench directed the office to issue notices to the respondents FIA and its Cyber Crime Wing. “The officer who has been entrusted inquiry of the case is directed to appear on the next date fixed and explain under what authority of law the undated notice was issued followed by raiding the house the petitioner as has been alleged,” said the court order. 

The IHC Chief Justice noted, “The officer shall also explain why the alleged commission and omission on part of the petitioner were not disclosed in the undated notice.” The bench also barred the authority from taking any adverse action against the petitioner till the next date of hearing. Later, the court deferred hearing in the matter till October 12.  

In his petition, Sulehri alleged that FIA and its Cyber Crime Wing were harassing him since past few days. The petition asserted that because of opinions and views expressed by the petitioner on the social media, he was being harassed by the respondents. His counsel mentioned an undated notice issued by the respondent and stated that a plain reading of the notice makes it obvious that the purported proceedings are based on malafide. 

The petitioner also alleged that he was summoned and later his house was raided. “The profession of the petitioner, fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 19 and 19-A of the Constitution 1973 and the manner in which the respondents have so far proceeded in this case, prima facie, raises questions of public importance, particularly abuse of power under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016,” maintained the journalist.