LAHORE: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Thursday arrested TV anchor Imran Riaz Khan for ‘hate speech’.

The BOL News anchor was taken into custody at the Allama Iqbal Airport from where was trying to go to the UAE. The FIA told him that his name was on the blacklist and subsequently he was arrested and handed over to the FIA cybercrime wing which did not produce him before a court of law for physical remand.

“Imran Riaz Khan was arrested by the FIA and taken into custody at an unknown place. The airport staff misinformed the public at the scene and escorted him via backdoor entrances,” said a tweet from the account of the journalist.

The FIA cybercrime wing neither issued any statement nor responded to Dawn’s call regarding Khan’s arrest and FIR.

The cybercrime reportedly booked Imran Riaz Khan under different sections of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes 2016 and the Pakistan Penal Code for “hate speech, defaming state institutions especially the army, violence-inducing statement, creating a rift between the general public and the state institutions, incitement to mutiny, and public mischief.”

Last year when the PML-N led federal coalition took over, Imran Riaz Khan was arrested on different charges including speaking against the institutions.

“Imran Riaz Khan has been taken into custody by the FIA. We can safely say that human rights are completely non-existent in Pakistan, a fascist state where rule of law is absent,” says the PTI in a statement.

Condemning Khan’s arrest, PTI general secretary Asad Umar said that while journalists and politicians were in jail, “terrorists are walking free in the country”.

Published in Dawn, February 3rd, 2023

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