KARACHI: Bilal Faroo­qui, a journalist associated with English daily Express Tribune, was detained from his home in Defence Housing Society by police on Friday evening, according to his family, friends and official sources.

The chief of Karachi police, Additional IG Ghulam Nabi Memon, confirmed that the Station Investigation Officer of the Defence police station had arrested the journalist.

The journalist was wanted in a case registered against him under sections 500 and 505 of the Pakistan Penal Code and sections 11 and 20 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 on a complaint lodged by Javed Khan, a resident of Majeed Colony, Landhi. The complainant works as a machine operator at a factory in Landhi.

According to the FIR, Javed Khan visited a restaurant in DHA Phase-II Extension on Sept 9. On checking his Facebook and Twitter accounts, Javed said, “I found that highly objectionable material” were shared by Bilal Farooqui.

The complainant alleged that the posts contained “highly provocative language” against the army. The posts also contained material inciting sectarianism, Javed alleged.

He accused Bilal Faroo­qui of ‘defaming’ the Pakistan Army, saying such social media posts might be used by “hostile elements for their nefarious designs”.

“Therefore, legal action should be taken against him.”

The Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ) condemned the arrest on “false and fabricated charges”.

The KUJ said in a statement that the police action was part of a “nefarious and concerted campaign to gag dissenting voices”.

It said Bilal Farooqui had never violated the country’s law.

“His only crime is that he disagrees with the ruling elite and raises his voice for a progressive society,” said KUJ president Ashraf Khan.

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists condemned the arrest of Bilal Farooqi and demanded his immediate release.

Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2020