10/22/2021

Cybercrime Case, Notice from Anti-Terrorism Wing, FIA’s Notice to Senior Journalist Nadeem Malik

Urdu update here | English translation by Romessa Nadeem

As the high courts were questioning the FIA’s cyber-crime cell’s actions of sending notices to journalists, the FIA’s anti-terrorism cell has started dabbling in sending notices too. Nadeem Malik, a senior journalist and president of the private television channel Samaa TV, received a notice on July 2 from the counter-terrorism wing of the FIA, asking him to appear on July 6. Surprisingly, this notice has been sent in the video case of Judge Arshad Malik and this case is being heard in the anti-cyber crime court and not in the anti-terrorism court. On July 27 last year, the Islamabad Anti-Terrorism Court ruled that the case was not related to terrorism. Following the verdict, the case was transferred to the Anti-Cyber Crime Court and is now being heard there. In such cases, legal experts have declared the notice of the FIA anti-terrorism wing illegal.

According to senior lawyer and former NAB prosecutor Imran Shafiq, when a judge ruled that the case was not a terrorism case, the FIA counter-terrorism wing had no authority to look into the case on its own. He also said that such a notice could not be issued to a journalist.

The notice was sent to Nadeem Malik for his April 28 discussion about Judge Arshad Malik’s video scandal on his show. In his program, Nadeem Malik, while refraining from revealing anyone’s name, full statement or any allegation, said only that he could not disclose what two important personalities had told him. The FIA based the notice on this conversation, asking him to provide this information to the agency. Nadeem Malik has been summoned under Section 160, under which non-appearance is a punishable crime. The question now is whether the FIA can force a journalist to provide information. Journalist organizations do not recognize this right and the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) also issued a statement condemning the FIA notice.

PFUJ Secretary Shahzada Zulfiqar and Secretary General Nasir Zaidi in their statement condemned the FIA notice and demanded its withdrawal. The statement said that the FIA did not take into account the seniority of journalist Nadeem Malik nor did it take into account his right as a journalist to disclose the name of his source, hence the notice should be withdrawn.

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