Social Media Campaign: CJP Isa Takes Notice Of Journalists' Names Included In JIT Report

SC asks heads of two journalist bodies to participate in the hearing of a case of journalists facing high-handedness of FIA on Monday

Social Media Campaign: CJP Isa Takes Notice Of Journalists' Names Included In JIT Report

Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faiz Isa on Saturday took notice of including names of journalists in a report by a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing an alleged social media campaign against judges of the superior judiciary and state institutions.

Saturday's suo moto notice came after the Press Association of Supreme Court (PAS) and the Islamabad High Court Journalists Association (IHJA) issued a joint declaration to express their reservations on including the names of several journalists, including beat reporters, by the JIT. 

While taking notice, Chief Justice Isa summoned the presidents of PAS and the IHJA into his chamber. Subsequently, the newly-elected PAS President Mian Aqeel Afzal, General Secretary Imran Waseem and IHJA President Fayyaz Mehmood called on the chief justice in his chamber. 

During their meeting, representatives of the two journalist bodies expressed their reservations and concerns over the inclusion of professional journalists in the JIT report.

After the meeting, Mehmood told The Friday Times that Chief Justice Isa had assured them that the matter would be taken up in a hearing fixed for Monday.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Isa and comprising Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Musarrat Hilali will resume hearing a suo moto case from 2021 regarding the high-handedness of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) against journalists.
Earlier on Saturday, it emerged that the JIT, which had been investigating the propagation of derogatory and false information against judges and state institutions on social media, had launched some 115 inquiries, sought 127 records and issued 65 notices to at least 46 individuals. These individuals were told to appear before the FIA on January 30 and 31 in Islamabad.

In one case, an FIR was registered as well. 
Prominent in the list were journalists Matiullah Jan, Saqib Bashir, Riazul Haq, Asad Ali Toor, Arif Hameed Bhatti, Siddique Jan, Shaheen Sehbai, Sabir Shakir, Cyril Almeida and others. 

Television anchors to whom notices were issued included Paras Jahanzeb (who was named twice in the list), Iqrarul Hassan, Orya Maqbool Jan, and Imran Riaz.

The data showed that the most records sought, enquiries registered, and notices served were in Punjab, followed by the Islamabad Capital Territory, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and the least were from Balochistan and Gilgit Baltistan.