ISLAMABAD: Former senator Faisal Raza Abidi was arrested from outside the Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday as he was leaving after the hearing of a case.

Two cases were already registered against Mr Abidi and another case was recently registered over the same issue.

He was taken to the Secretariat police station for interrogation, the police said, adding that Mr Abidi was arrested in connection with a case registered against him on Oct 9 for defaming judges and the apex court and was booked under section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

Former senator had been booked for defaming judges, SC in interview

He was also booked under sections 500 (punishment for defamation), 501(printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory), 505(ii) (statements conducive to public mischief), 228 (intentional insult or interruption to public servant sitting in judicial proceedings), 121 (waging or attempting to wage war or abetting waging war against Pakistan) 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.

Two separate cases were already registered against Mr Abidi, one each at the Secretariat police and with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Sept 19 for defaming judges and the Supreme Court.

The Secretariat police had booked him under section 7 of the ATA along with the PPC’s sections 228, 500, 505(ii), 506 (Criminal Intimidation) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) in response to a complaint lodged by SC public relations officer Shahid Hussain Kambyo on Sept 19.

The FIA booked him under section 10(a), 11 and 20 of the prevention of Pakistan Electronic Crime Act 2016 read with PPC’s sections 109 and 509.

Mr Abidi appeared in the Islamabad High Court on Oct 1 and obtained protective bail for a day and was asked to appear before an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) for bail.

The next day, he appeared in ATC where he was given interim bail and the hearing was fixed for Oct 11.

The Secretariat police have now registered another case over the same issue and arrested him from outside SC.

Sources said the new case was registered in response to a complaint lodged by ASI Shoukat Mehmood Abbasi, stationed at the same station.

The FIR says the ASI watched a video on social media in which a female anchorperson is interviewing Mr Abidi and in which he is alleged to have defamed judges and SC.

The police claim the FIR was registered on Oct 9, a day before the former senator was arrested. However, it seems it was registered on Oct 10, the same day as the arrest and was backdated.

The registration of the case against Mr Abidi is not mentioned in the crime diary issued by the police on Wednesday. A crime diary mentions brief information of the FIRs registered by the police the previous day.

Police spokesperson Mohammad Naseem confirmed that the crime diary issued was the complete one for Oct 9 and said the FIR against Mr Abidi was registered late, at 10:35pm which is why it did not make it to the crime diary.

The capital police have registered two separate FIRs at the same police station for the same crime.

During a preliminary interrogation the senator is reported to have said that it also referred to the same interview.

However, Superintendent of Police City Zone Amir Niazi and Deputy Superintendent of Police Azhar Shah when contacted claimed they were different interviews which is why two cases were registered.

When asked, the DSP Legal said two cases cannot be registered for a single crime.

A police officer said there were two parts to the interview which is why two separate cases were registered.

Published in Dawn, October 11th, 2018