No witch-hunt in probe into trolling against judges, says minister

Published January 29, 2024
Caretaker Information Minister Murtaza Solangi addresses a press conference in Islamabad on Sunday. — DawnNewsTV
Caretaker Information Minister Murtaza Solangi addresses a press conference in Islamabad on Sunday. — DawnNewsTV

ISLAMABAD: Brush­ing aside reports about the harassment of journalists in the matter related to a ‘malicious’ campaign on social media against judges, caretaker Minister for Information, Broad­casting and Parliamentary Affairs Murtaza Solangi on Sunday said a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is probing the matter in accordance with law.

“So far no FIR has been lodged against anybody, nor has anyone been arrested,” the minister said while addressing a news conference along with the officials of Federal Investi­gation Agency, Pakistan Tele­communication Autho­rity and other institutions.

“Nobody has been picked up since the formation of JIT,” he said while dispelling the impression of a witch-hunt under the garb of the JIT.

The minister explained that the JIT, formed on Jan 16 to probe the anti-judiciary campaign, held its first meeting the next day and another on Jan 23, adding that investigation was still underway. He said it was imperative to bring forth facts in this regard.

So far, 600 social media accounts have been investigated, and a total of 100 inquiries registered, according to him. Notices were served on 110 individuals, including 32 journalists and 22 politicians and political workers, Mr Solangi disclosed, asserting that notices to the identified individuals had been served in accordance with law.

He said law would take its course, adding that action against those found involved in running the campaign against the judiciary would be taken in accordance with law.

In response to a query, he said there were reasonable restrictions on the freedom of expression and the law of the land prohibited from running campaigns against the judiciary and armed forces.

“This is not about criticism, rather it is related to character assassination and ridiculing [of the judiciary],” he remarked.

Whatever has been done against the Supreme Court judges on social media in recent days could not be called criticism, he said, adding that there should be a fine line between the criticism and ridiculing someone.

He noted the intensity of the malicious campaign had decreased significantly since the formation of the JIT.

FIA Director General Ishaq Jahangir said notices were served to give an opportunity to the individuals to give their version on the issue.

“Not every notice ends up in the FIR,” he remarked.

Published in Dawn, January 29th, 2024

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