ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday granted former senator Faisal Raza Abidi protective bail for one day in his appearance before a trial court in cases related to the alleged defamation of Supreme Court justices.

An IHC division bench comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb took up a petition seeking protective bail in a case registered by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) under the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (Peca).

The petition alleges that during a television appearance, Mr Abidi, with criminal intent and ulterior motives and without lawful justification, used sarcastic, derogatory, disrespectful and defamatory language against the chief justice of Pakistan and others.

The petition said this was tantamount to creating a sense of fear, panic and insecurity among the government, the public and society.

The petition says that Mr Abidi is prima facie guilty of offences punishable under sections 10(a), 11 and 20 of Peca read with PPC sections 109 and 509.

Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani also granted Mr Abidi protective bail in a separate case registered against him with the Secretariat police for allegedly using abusive language against judges.

The case was registered under PPC sections 228, 500, 505(ii) and 34, as well as the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), in response to a complaint lodged by SC Public Relations Officer Shahid Hussain Kambyo.

The FIR says that a video on social media clearly showed Mr Abidi was highly abusive and contemptuous, used threatening language and levelled allegations against government institutions that were created via the Constitution and against individuals at the highest constitutional posts.

The FIR claims that through his speech, Mr Abidi caused panic, scared the public and intimidated constitutional functionaries in order to keep them from discharging their obligation. It also says that the language used by Mr Abidi was punishable under the ATA and provisions of the PPC.

Published in Dawn, October 2nd, 2018