Lahore journalist remanded in FIA custody over ‘anti-state’ Facebook posts

Lahore journalist remanded in FIA custody over ‘anti-state’ Facebook posts

The FIR states, “During scrutiny of social media it wasa found that anti-state and defamatory material against the public functionaries and state departments is being uploaded through a Facebook ID” in the name of Wahid. AFP

Lahore, January 18

A Lahore court has granted the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) a three-day physical remand of a journalist whom the agency has accused of sharing “anti-state” content on Facebook, it was reported.

Azharul Haq Wahid, who has remained associated with Channel Five and the ‘Khabrain’ Urdu newspaper, was arrested by the FIA on Thursday and an FIR was registered against him, Dawn news said in a report.

The FIR states, “During scrutiny of social media it wasa found that anti-state and defamatory material against the public functionaries and state departments is being uploaded through a Facebook ID” in the name of Wahid.

The FIA presented the journalist before Judicial Magistrate Yasir Arafat on Friday. The counsel for the agency requested physical remand of Wahid, saying it needed to further interrogate him for “sharing anti-state material on Facebook”.

It was unclear what the “anti-state” content contained.

The suspect also shared an “offensive, edited” version of the country’s national anthem on his Facebook page, the lawyer said, adding that a raid had been conducted at the journalist’s residence after obtaining search warrants.

After hearing all arguments, the court sent Wahid into FIA’s custody on a three-day physical remand, with the agency directed to produce him again on January 20.

Meanwhile, the Lahore Press Club issued a statement on Friday saying its office-bearers “strongly condemn” Wahid’s arrest.

The press club demanded Prime Minister Imran Khan to ensure the journalist was immediately released and the FIA issue an apology, saying journalists would otherwise stage countrywide protests. IANS

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