FIA acted beyond jurisdiction in lodging FIR on critical tweet: IHC

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has ruled that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) acted beyond its jurisdiction by registering a case on a controversial tweet.

The IHC on Saturday announced a verdict in a case related to the smear campaign against the state institutions on social media following the ouster of PTI-led government in April this year.

Justice Babar Sattar accepted the petition of a citizen and quashed the case which was lodged by FIA over posting of a critical tweet.

The court reprimanded the federal agency, saying that FIA had made a mockery of the state by registering the case which was “aimed at imposing illegal censorship on freedom of expression”.

The court said in the verdict that posting a tweet using any hashtag is not tantamount to committing a crime. Wrongdoing can only be established if any person himself has said anything wrong in the content of a tweet, it added.

The court lamented that FIA wanted to create suspicion in public by registering such cases.

The Twitter user had spoken of enforced disappearances while referring to ‘Vigo vehicle’.

Earlier this month, the government had authorised the Federal Investigation Agency to take action against those who intended to spread “rumours and false information against state institutions” on social media.

Also read: FIA to curb ‘social media rumourmongering’

The federal cabinet on October 27 approved an amendment to the FIA Act, 1974 with a section of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) for this purpose.

It gave the nod to a summary on circulation from the interior ministry for changes in the FIA law.

“[The] FIA has intimated that presently, social media is inundated with false information and rumours against state institutions and organisations with intent to cause or incite or which is likely to cause or incite any officer, solder, sailor or airman in army, navy, or air force of Pakistan to mutiny, offence or otherwise disregard or fail in his duty as such,” the summary read.

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