Bol TV anchor Jameel Farooqui ‘arrested’ in Karachi for falsely accusing Islamabad police of assaulting Gill
Whereabouts of anchorperson and popular YouTuber Jameel Farooqui remained unknown on Monday as Islamabad police said he had been arrested in Karachi for falsely accusing the law enforcement agency of physically and sexually assaulting PTI leader Shahbaz Gill while Zaman Town SHO Zahid Lodhi denied any such step by the local police.
A spokesperson for Islamabad police in a statement said that a case had been registered against Farooqui at the Ramna police station.
“In his vlog, the suspect falsely accused Islamabad police of sexually and physically assaulting Gill,” the statement said, which was also carried by Radio Pakistan.
The first information report (FIR) against Farooqui, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, was registered on Sunday under Sections 499 (defamation), 500 (defaming army officers), 501 (printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory), and 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).
The complainant, a magistrate, said that he had seen a video circulating in different groups on his phone where Farooqui, in a vlog on his YouTube channel, shared graphic details of the Islamabad police’s alleged torture of the PTI leader.
The complaint said the journalist attempted to discredit the police with false allegations, which was tantamount to obstructing the investigation.
It added that the journalist tried to distract police, create anarchy and provoke the public against officials.
Karachi police denies arrest
Zaman Town SHO Zahid Lodhi, however, told Dawn.com that local police had not arrested the YouTuber.
He said an employee of Bol TV, who identified himself as Kamran Minhas, had phoned the police station and said that Farooqui had left the channel’s office in Korangi on Saturday night but had been missing since.
The officer said he told Minhas that Farooqui had not been taken into custody by local police or any team falling under his jurisdiction.
Separately, Bol TV President and Editor-in-chief Nazir Leghari told Dawn.com that Farooqui was associated with the channel and hosted a programme on a regular basis.
“Someone may have had a difference of opinion regarding his views but he has not committed any crime,” Leghari insisted.
He was of the view that the government adopted such “high-handed tactics when their days in power are numbered”.
He asked the media fraternity to raise their voice against this “tyranny”, saying media freedom would be “minimised” if timely action was not taken.
Commenting on Farooqui’s arrest, senior PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said the government was using coercive tactics to “control” a few media groups. “But the days of cruelty are numbered,” he added.
Bol TV’s Sami Ibrahim said the journalist was arrested “for producing a vlog which was nothing but a political satire”. He said police had arrested Farooqui but his whereabouts were not known.
KUJ condemns Farooqui’s ‘disappearance’
Separately, the Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ) condemned Farooqui’s “arrest and subsequent disappearance” and urged Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial to take notice of the “violation of human rights and vindictive policy against the media persons”.
The KUJ also demanded that Farooqui be presented before the court concerned.
In the statement, KUJ President Shahid Iqbal and General Secretary Fahim Siddiqi said that Islamabad police registered a case against Farooqi at 10:55pm on Sunday, noting that he had been registered in Karachi within a few hours.
“He was arrested when he left his Bol TV office after conducting a programme there at night. He was traveling in a car and was on his way home when unknown persons took him away along with his car and since then his whereabouts [are] not known,” the statement said.
The KUJ believes Farooqi’s vlog is objectionable and contrary to journalistic and moral values but his detention from the way was against the basic human rights and against his right to defend himself, the statement said.