Court summons police in defamation case against US blogger | Pakistan Today

Court summons police in defamation case against US blogger

ISLAMABAD: A local court summoned on Wednesday the station house officer (SHO) of Bani Gala in a case regarding the defamation of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto by US blogger Cynthia Richie.

Islamabad Additional District and Sessions Judge Abdul Ghafoor Kakar ordered the SHO to appear before the court and explain why he had not submitted a reply earlier. The court expressed its annoyance over the non-submission of a detailed reply by the police.

The petitioner’s lawyer, Chaudhry Zahid Asif, argued that the, “Police is deliberately not submitting a detailed reply.” He said the police is cooking up excuses to delay registering a case against Cynthia Rithchie.

The hearing was adjourned till June 20.

On June 15, the Islamabad additional district and sessions judge directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to conduct an inquiry against Cynthia for allegedly defaming former prime minister Benazir Bhutto on social media and if found guilty, register an FIR [First Information Report] against her.

Judge Muhammad Jehangir Awan announced the two-page reserved verdict on PPP Islamabad President Shakeel Abbasi’s petition, seeking registration of a criminal case against Cynthia for passing “extremely derogatory and slanderous remarks about Benazir Bhutto”.

The judge wrote in the verdict that Benazir “died in the year 2007 and there is a lapse of more than 12 years in between this intervening period but the accused never agitated this fact before any forum or Competent Authority and even not disclosed on any media. So, at this stage after a lapse of 12 years her disclosure to malign the character of the deceased leader is apparently based upon mala-fide”.

The verdict stated, “There is no denial from the accused [Cynthia] that she created this tweet on social media. Hence, a crime has been committed falling under Peca Act 2016 and FIA is competent to investigate the matter in accordance with the law.”

It read, “Under the circumstances, the application is hereby accepted and FIA is directed to proceed in accordance with law, conduct an inquiry and if there is sufficient material, register an FIR.”

The Islamabad police had earlier refused to register a case against the US blogger. The FIA had also requested the court to dismiss the petition on the grounds that the petitioner, PPP Islamabad President Shakeel Abbasi, was not the affected party.