Journalist Khalid Jamil arrested by the FIA for misinterpreting and disseminating ‘anti-state narrative;’ sent to Adiala Jail on judicial remand
Ausaf Broadcasting News (ABN) Bureau Chief Khalid Jamil was arrested by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on September 20. Jamil was taken into custody by FIA officials from his residence in New Town, Islamabad, for allegedly knowingly misinterpreting and disseminating “anti-state narrative” in his recent posts on social media.
A First Information Report (FIR) was registered against Jamil at the FIA Cyber Crime Reporting Centre in Islamabad on September 20 under Section 20 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) Ordinance 2016 and Section 505 of the Pakistan Penal Code. As per the FIR, Jamil was “propagating highly intimidating content/tweets on social media/Twitter.”
According to the FIR, Jamil had “knowingly misinterpreted and disseminates anti-state narrative by sharing false, misleading and baseless information, which are also likely to cause fear or alarm in the public and may induce/incite anyone to commit an offense against the state or state institution or public tranquility.”
Jamil’s legal representative, Barrister Gohar, told PPF that Jamil’s arrest was “unwarranted,” adding that individuals have a right to express their opinions on social media.
On September 22, a district and sessions court in Islamabad remanded Jamil in the custody of the FIA for two days, Dawn reported. Following this, on September 24, the journalist was sent to Adiala Jail on 14-day judicial remand, Barrister Gohar told PPF.
As per Jamil’s legal representative, the journalist was under arrest, and they had applied for bail with court proceedings set for September 26.
Speaking to PPF, ABN News Director News Mohsin Nawaz strongly condemned Jamil’s detention, claiming that FIA officials arrested him like a criminal in front of his children, describing it as a “heavy-handed approach.”
Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists Vice President and Nawa-i-Waqt senior correspondent Shahid Ajmal condemned the arrest, alleging that FIA officials had violated procedures by arresting Jamil without a proper arrest warrant. He stressed that this action contravened the standard operating procedures of the PECA, 2016 law, which requires consultation or notification of journalists’ unions before arresting any journalist in Pakistan.
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists, and the National Press Club organized a protest on September 22, demanding Jamil’s immediate release and calling for action against FIA officials for violating the rule of law.
PFUJ President Afzal Butt declared Jamil’s arrest illegal and an attack on freedom of speech. He urged authorities to protect the rule of law and conduct a fair investigation into the conduct of FIA officials.
National Press Club Joint Secretary Talat Farooq condemned Jamil’s detention and warned that if FIA officials did not release the journalist within 24 hours, journalistic bodies across Pakistan would stage protests to defend the freedom of the press and expression in the country.