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ISLAMABAD: An inquiry has been ordered into the illegal detention and manhandling of journalists by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) officials, officials revealed on Saturday.

The inquiry was ordered by the acting FIA director general Ahmed Latif. Islamabad Director Mazharul Haq Kakakhail was asked to probe the incident and determine responsibility, they added.

The interior minister also took notice of the incident, in which FIA officials, including an assistant director, manhandled two journalists and detained them at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) illegally. They said the minister has also asked for a report about the incident.

On Friday, a team of FIA officials brought Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Chairman Zafar Hijazi to Pims for medical assistance after he was arrested by the FIA, officials said.

The media, including Saba Bajeer from Channel 24 and Aitzaz Hassan from Dawn News, were present at Pims. Ms Bajeer took photos of the SECP chairman, in response to which the FIA assistant director grabbed her by the arm and asked her to delete the images.

Mr Hassan asked her to do the same, and in the meantime, six or seven FIA officials surrounded them and pushed them into a room in the hospital and took their mobile phones and cards.

After hearing of the incident, the journalist community assembled at the hospital, and senior police officials, including a superintendent of police and sub-divisional police officer, also arrived there.

The police later released the journalists from FIA custody, police said, and a complaint was lodged against the FIA officials with the Karachi Company police. However, a case has yet to be registered.

The complaint stated that FIA officials and relatives of Mr Hijazi manhandled media professionals at Pims, and the complainant demanded legal action against them for doing so.

Published in Dawn, July 23rd, 2017