IHC asks FIA to refrain from harassing journalist


ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday restrained the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) from harassing a journalist who had filed a petition seeking protection of the court.

Justice Aamer Farooq issued notices to the agency for May 29 with directions to “act strictly in accordance with law and the petitioner shall not be harassed.”

Taha Shakeel Siddiqui had filed a petition in the high court through his counsel Asma Jahangir, asking the court to stop the FIA ‘from harassing citizens simply because they have expressed a view or are carrying out their professional duties’.

When the case was taken up on Tuesday, the counsel contended that to the best of the petitioner’s knowledge there is no case registered or pending against him. However, she said, “He is being harassed by the respondents.”

The petition detailed that Siddiqui received a phone call from an officer in the FIA’s counter-terrorism wing, deputy director Noman Bodla, on May 18, 2017.  Bodla allegedly asked Siddiqui to appear before him at the FIA Headquarters for interrogation. Petitioner said that the interrogation, as the officer had hinted, was about some journalistic articles Siddiqui had written.

The petitioner further informed the court that when he showed reluctance at visiting the FIA headquarters, the said officer resorted to threatening tone and words and hung up.

The petition also stated that following the phone call, plain-clothed men could be observed pointing at his house.

Siddiqui had listed the Ministry of Interior, DG FIA, Deputy Director Counter-Terrorism FIA Bodla as respondents. Siddiqui is Pakistan’s correspondent for TV channel France 24 and also works as Bureau Chief Pakistan for TV channel WION.

The court will now open the case again on May 29.