Case against journalist Shahzeb Jillani quashed due to lack of evidence

Published May 18, 2019
Senior journalist Shahzeb Jillani. — Photo courtesy of Jillani Twitter
Senior journalist Shahzeb Jillani. — Photo courtesy of Jillani Twitter

A local court in Karachi, South on Saturday dismissed charges of “defamatory remarks against the respected institutions of Pakistan” and “cyber-terrorism” against senior journalist Shahzeb Jillani.

The court declared that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) failed to produce substantial proofs against the journalist.

The judge declared the first information report (FIR) against the journalist non maintainable while categorising the case as "C class". The case has now been closed due to lack of evidence to support charges against the defendant.

Take a look: Freedom of press on the decline in Pakistan, warns CPJ

The complainant named Moulvi Iqbal Haider had alleged in the FIR that he was watching Dunya Kamran Khan Kay Sath on December 8, 2017 when Jillani, who was the coordinator of the programme, "articulated defamatory remarks against respected institutions of the country while answering questions posed by the show’s host".

The petitioner had said that the journalist had made remarks against the "invisible security forces of the country" and had alleged that "the law enforcement agencies were directly involved in kidnapping of the citizens, which leads to cases of 'missing persons'."

The complainant had said that on March 18, he once again noticed that Jillani had passed remarks through which law enforcement agencies had been "directly or indirectly, deliberately and intentionally accused of influencing the democratic system of Pakistan, due to which the solidarity, sovereignty, integrity and security of the state had been damaged and personal sentiments of the voters/general public had been hurt."

According to Haider, Jillani had first "made a reference to the history of army generals negatively influencing democracy", then suddenly referred to "the invisible force", adding that "they select rulers."

Haider, as per the FIR, further stated that Jillani had said that "Prime Minister Imran Khan cannot survive in the assembly if he works for public welfare and does not follow the directions of the establishment."

The complainant also said that Jillani was towing the "line of foreign agencies on social media and had also been blogging in order to implement his agenda against the sovereignty of Pakistan".

Haider said that the act of the suspect was in connivance with "others responsible at Dunya News as well as in collusion with the enemy countries".

The FIR further mentioned that during the course of the inquiry it was found that "Jillani had — with the criminal intent and ulterior motives and without any lawful justification — made sarcastic, derogatory, disrespectful remarks and used defamatory language against Pakistan, the Election Commission of Pakistan, the armed force, including the chief of the army staff and Inter-Services Intelligence, etc."

According to the complainant, Jillani's actions "are tantamount to creating a sense of fear, panic, insecurity in government institutions, general public and society".

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