ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has said multiple first information reports (FIRs) against a single offence is “intimidation”.

The court on Saturday issued a detailed order on petitions filed by Secretary Information Shahera Shahid, Pakistan Television (PTV) acting Managing Director Sohail Ali Khan and Director News Mirza Rashid Baig.

The petitioners had moved to the court after two FIRs were lodged against them in Lahore and Peshawar under the anti-terrorism law.

In the order, IHC Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri observed that FIRs outside the territorial jurisdiction of Islamabad were in violation of the Supreme Court’s judgement.

IHC quashes cases against information secretary, PTV managing director

The apex court, in the ‘Mst Sughran Bibi vs The State’ case said only one FIR could be registered against a single offence.

Justice Jahangiri said the alleged incident in which the petitioners were booked occurred in Islamabad and the registration of FIRs in Lahore and Peshawar was in violation of the SC’s order.

Calling it a “misuse of authority,” the judge said petitioners suffered “mental torture, harassment and fear of life and liberty” due to the FIRs.

The court noted the petitioners were senior government officers, performing their official duties and the FIRs’ contents and allegations showed no offence of terrorism was made out against them.

Subsequently, the court suspended the FIRs and restrained the police from booking the petitioners in the case.

The court also directed the petitioners’ counsel to implead the complainants and make them party in the case.

The FIRs against the petitioners were registered after PML-N leader Mian Javed Latif reportedly uttered objectionable remarks against Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan during a press conference that was aired live on national TV.

In one FIR on Sept 19, registered at Lahore’s Green Town police station, the police invoked Sections 9, 11-X(3) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

Section 9 outlines five years’ imprisonment for those convicted of stirring up sectarian hate. Under Section 11X(3), a person convicted of delivering a sermon or addressing a gathering to “incite religious, sectarian or ethnic hatred” will be imprisoned for up to 10 years.

The complainants alleged Mr Latif’s remarks were broadcast on PTV in connivance with Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb and petitioners Mr Khan and Mr Baig. The second FIR was registered at Rehman Baba police station in District Peshawar.

Published in Dawn, December 18th, 2022

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