FIA contacts Facebook for details of suspect 'maligning' upcoming film

Published December 19, 2018
A poster of the 1979 film Maula Jutt, produced by Mohammad Sarwar Bhatti. —Photo courtesy Wikipedia
A poster of the 1979 film Maula Jutt, produced by Mohammad Sarwar Bhatti. —Photo courtesy Wikipedia

In a surprising move, a judicial magistrate in Lahore on Wednesday issued directives asking Facebook to provide account details of a user allegedly spreading "negative propaganda" against an upcoming movie.

According to an application submitted to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) by one of the affectees, Ammara, the accused had posted a Facebook status allegedly maligning her and the movie director, Bilal Lashari, "through the use of defamatory statements about their upcoming movie" — The legend of Maula Jatt.

The suspect is reportedly a graduate of Lahore's National College of Arts and a filmmaker himself, as stated in his Facebook profile.

In his Facebook status, the accused has raised the issue of copyright infringement and alleged that the upcoming film was violating the copyrights of producer Mohammad Sarwar Bhatti — who made the original Maula Jut film in 1979.

To further his stance, the suspect has called for others to "boycott and expose the perpetrators strictly" whom he has also referred to as "thieves" and named specifically.

In the court orders issued today, the judicial magistrate has stated: "In the light of facts explained and evidence presented by the verification officer, this court is convinced that the subject matter constitutes offences punishable under PECA Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016.

The court has therefore reached out to Facebook to furnish the user's account details "in the interest of justice". These include basic subscriber information, and IP logs from the date of account creation to the last date of activity.

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