ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC), on Monday, suspended a summon issued by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to the former chairman Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), Absar Alam.

A single bench of Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard the petition of the former chairman PEMRA, and also summoned the investigation officer of the FIA to appear in person before the court on the next hearing.

The IHC bench also issued notices to the Secretary Interior, the Director General (DG) Federal Investigation Agency, and directed them to submit their reply in this matter. Later, the court deferred the hearing till April 7th.

Absar Alam has filed the petition in the IHC under Article 199 of the Constitution through his counsel Sajid Tanoli.

In his petition, the senior journalist and former chairman PEMRA has challenged the summons issued to him by the FIA over his recent tweets and social media posts.

The FIA had summoned him on a complaint filed by a lawyer who accused him of anti-state rhetoric.

Absar, however, challenged the summons and contended that the FIA summoned him without providing details of the complaint.

He said that the summons were issued even after the date on which he was supposed to appear before the investigation officer.

He termed the summon mala fide and requested the court to declare it as illegal and unlawful.

He also prayed before the court to direct the FIA not to harass, humiliate, threat or arrest him in connection with the complaint lodged by a lawyer with the investigative agency.

The Cyber Crime Reporting Centre of the FIA had issued notice to the former chairman PEMRA regarding a complaint that he had uploaded defamatory tweets against the State individuals, and departments through his Twitter account.

The former chairman adopted that he highlighted human rights violations through his Twitter handle and tried to defend the aggrieved and deprived segments of the society, and also for the supremacy of the Constitution and the Rule of Law.

He argued that through notices, the respondents were trying to harass, humiliate, blackmail, and arrest him illegally, unlawfully, without due process of law, and that the same was part of the campaign of silencing sane voices.

He informed the court that time and again, he requested the SHO to provide him a copy of complaint, evidence, and material, if any, so that he may furnish his defense but the SHO flatly refused to provide any document to him.—TERENCE J SIGAMONY