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Faisal Raza Abidi arrested outside Supreme Court

Updated October 10, 2018

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Former senator Faisal Raza Abidi. — Photo/File
Former senator Faisal Raza Abidi. — Photo/File

Islamabad police arrested former senator Faisal Raza Abidi on Wednesday on an FIR registered against him last night for using "highly insulting and inappropriate language" against the chief justice, DawnNewsTV reported.

Abidi was arrested by officials of Secretariat police station outside the Supreme Court, where he appeared for a hearing of a suo motu case regarding anti-judiciary remarks made by him in an interview that was aired on Channel 5. During his hearing, he told the court that his lawyer had gone for Umrah. The SC, after issuing notices to Abidi and the deputy attorney general, adjourned the hearing until October 30.

A first information report (FIR) — a copy of which is available with DawnNewsTV — was lodged against Abidi in the Secretariat police station last night under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA). It also includes Sections 500 (punishment for defamation), 501 (printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory), 505 (II) (statements conducing to public mischief), 228 (intentional insult or interruption to public servant sitting in judicial proceeding), 121 (waging or attempting to wage war or abetting waging of war against the state) and 109 (punishment of abetment if act abetted in consequence and where no express provision is made for its punishment) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

The FIR, registered under the complaint of assistant sub-inspector of Secretariat police station Shaukat Mehmood Abbasi, alleges Abidi of using "highly insulting and inappropriate language" against the chief justice and the judiciary in an interview. It also accuses him of "undermining the honour of the chief justice [and] inciting the public".

The FIR does not specify the programme it is referring to.

This is the third case that has been registered against Abidi for defamation of judiciary and usage of threatening language.

The former senator first came under heat after a video of his interview went viral on social media, in which his language was deemed abusive, contemptuous and threatening in an FIR that was registered earlier. He was also accused of levelling allegations against government institutions which have been created via the Constitution. He also levelled accusations against individuals holding the highest constitutional posts, the FIR said.

The case was registered with the Secretariat police under different sections of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and Section 7 of ATA in response to a complaint lodged by Shahid Hussain Kambyo, the public relations officer of the SC.

Another case was registered against Abidi with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) under the Prevention of Electronic Crime Act 2016 for his remarks in another programme titled Subah Subah Naya Pakistan aired on web channel Naya Pakistan on July 2.

It says that during the course of his appearance on the show, the accused, with criminal intent and ulterior motives and without any lawful justification used sarcastic, derogatory, disrespectful and defamatory language against the chief justice etc. which it says is tantamount to creating a sense of fear, panic and insecurity among the government, general public and society.

It says that Abidi is prima facie guilty of offences punishable under sections 10(a), 11 and 20 of the Prevention of Electronic Crime Act, 2016 read with sections 109 and 509 of the Pakistan Penal Code.

An anti-terrorism court had granted Abidi bail in that case — that is ongoing — until October 11 earlier this month.

An FIA official said the case will be registered by the FIA’s cybercrime wing as well, which was registered under the prevention of the Electronic Crimes Act and the PPC.

The police are holding a separate investigation of the case.