ISLAMABAD            -        The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Thursday granted bail to a cleric charged with uploading a viral video containing derogatory, contemptuous and scandalous language against the institution of the judiciary and judges, especially Supreme Court’s Justice Qazi Faez Isa. 

A division bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Aamer Farooq conducted hearing of the petition and accepted his petition seeking post arrest bail.

Mirza Iftikharuddin, in his petition, contended that he never even thought of disrespecting the judiciary but was implicated in a false case. He said he is a cardiac patient and may be released till the decision in the pending trial.

The court noted, “We are, therefore, satisfied that the petitioner is entitled to extension of concession of bail. This petition is allowed and the petitioner is admitted to bail, subject to furnishing bail bonds in the sum of Rs.1,000,000/- (Rupees one million) with one surety in the like amount to the satisfaction of the learned trial court.”

The bench added, “It is noted that the concession of bail granted through this order will stand recalled if the petitioner repeats the acts which have been alleged in the FIR or that objectionable material is uploaded on the social media or made public through any other means. Needless to mention that this assessment is tentative, which shall not affect trial of this case in any manner.”

The IHC bench said in its verdict that they have been informed that the contempt proceedings are also pending against the petitioner before the august Supreme Court for uploading material on the social media, which tends to bring the authority of the courts and the administration of justice into disrespect and disrepute.

A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed took suo motu notice of the viral video. Later, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested the cleric and registered an FIR against him under different sections of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).

The investigation report explained that the Internet Protocol (IP) addresses used by the cleric and his accomplice for uploading the video had been traced and the concerned Internet Service Providers (ISPs) approached to provide the subscribers detail of the internet devices through which IP addresses were accessed.

During the course of investigation, the two suspects, Mirza and Akbar, were arrested from whom mobile phones, a movie camera and a laptop were recovered and sent for forensic analysis.

According to the FIA, the cleric has owned the contents of the video and stated that his responsibility was to preach Islamic teachings. Besides, he admitted that he had been running a web TV since 2017 in one of the rooms of his residence. His accomplice Akbar recorded his lectures and uploaded/managed his YouTube channel and Facebook page, the report said.

Mirza moved his bail petition through Mrs. Sarkar Abbas, Shabbir Ahmed Mirza and Asim Mumtaz Advocates. He stated that the allegations against the petitioner are regarding uploading of objectionable material and it is alleged that he had attempted to incite violence against a sitting the Judge of the Supreme Court and thus putting his life to risk.