Mohsin Baig case: Govt to file reference against judge for declaring FIA raid illegal

Petition will be filed in IHC against Session Judge Zafar Iqbal who conducted hearing of Mohsin Baig, says Islamabad AG

Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath
Web Desk

  • Advocate General (AG) Islamabad met PM Imran Khan and briefed him about Mohsin Baig’s case.
  • Journalist Mohsin Baig was arrested following a raid by the FIA cybercrime wing.
  • A court in Islamabad declared FIA raid at journalist Baig's residence illegal.

The government has decided to file a reference against Islamabad’s Additional Session Judge Zafar Iqbal for declaring the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) raid illegal at senior journalist Mohsin Baig’s home, Geo News reported.

On Wednesday a court in Islamabad declared the FIA’s raid at journalist Mohsin Baig's residence illegal, hours after he had been arrested.

"...illegal raid was conducted at the house of [Baig] by irrelevant persons who were not authorised to do so," Additional Sessions Judge Islamabad West Zafar Iqbal said in the judgement of a petition filed against the journalist's arrest.

In connection with Mohsin Baig's case, Advocate General (AG) Islamabad Niazullah Niazi met Prime Minister Imran Khan and briefed him about the case hearing.

After meeting with the Prime Minister, Advocate General Islamabad Niazullah Niazi told Geo News that an administrative petition will be filed in Islamabad High Court (IHC) against Additional Session Judge Zafar Iqbal, who presided over the hearing of Mohsin Baig's case regarding the FIA raid at his home.

The government in the petition will plea to IHC Chief Justice to act against the Additional Session Judge of Islamabad, he added.

He stated that Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that no one is above the law.

Mohsin Baig fired at agency officers while the session judge had exceeded his mandate in the verdict, he said.

Niazullah Niazi went on to say that the judge's observations during the case hearing were prejudiced and outside of his jurisdiction. He claimed that the same observation had been used to dismiss the FIR filed against journalist Mohsin Baig.

Later, talking on Geo News Programme Aaj Shahzaib Khanzada Kay Saath, AG Islamabad Niazullah Niazi said that we will approach Chief Justice IHC regarding the session court judge's verdict, adding that, "no illegal action will be taken against any judge."

In response to a question, he stated that the reference against the session judge will not jeopardise the independence of the judiciary.

Neither the prime minister nor the lawyer accepts any kind of pressure on the judiciary, but no one should be above the law, he said.

Case History

On Wednesday Journalist Mohsin Baig was arrested following a raid by the Federal Investigation Agency's (FIA) cybercrime wing.

The journalist has been critical of the government's policies and used to appear on TV talk shows as an analyst.

The FIA cybercrime wing raided the journalist's house in the federal capital, along with the police, and took him into custody.

Speaking to Geo News, Baig’s son said that FIA officials in plain clothes came to their house earlier today and arrested his father.

“Initially, we thought that they (FIA personnel) are thieves and opened aerial fire, but later they introduced themselves as law enforcers. We also asked them to show arrest warrants but they didn’t have any. Meanwhile, a police party also came to our house.”

The FIA reportedly “faced resistance” during the raid and “dragged” the journalist to a van.

FIA raided Baig’s house on Murad Saeed’s complaint

According to a press release issued by the investigation agency, the FIA raided Baig's house in F8 on the complaint of Minister for Communications Murad Saeed.

The statement further mentioned that the FIA conducted the raid after obtaining a search and seizure warrant from the court.

"During the raid, Mohsin Baig and his son and servants directly fired at the FIA team and made two officials hostage," the press release said. It added that Baig was arrested after he ran out of bullets and was taken to Margalla police station where legal proceedings are underway.

According to the first information report (FIR, Baig had used immoral language for Murad Saeed in a talk show. It said Baig had related a "baseless story with derogatory remarks" which was subsequently shared on social media and had "shattered" the federal minister's.

Islamabad court declares FIA raid at Mohsin Baig's home illegal

Following Mohsin Baig arrest a court in Islamabad Wednesday declared Federal Investigation Agency's (FIA) raid at journalist Baig's residence illegal, hours after he had been arrested.

In the five-page judgement, the additional sessions judge noted that the first information report (FIR) against Baig was lodged at an FIA cybercrime reporting centre of the agency in Lahore on behalf of federal minister Murad Saeed.

Another FIR was registered against Baig, his son, and seven to eight other people on the complaint of the station house officer (SHO) of the Margalla police station.

In the FIR, the SHO alleged that police arrived at the site of the incident after they received a "wireless message" from the FIA at 10:30am, saying that the body had reached Baig's house to arrest him.

As the FIA team tried to arrest Baig, he, his sons, and seven to eight other people started resisting the arrest and fired aerial shots, the police officer alleged.

As a result, the FIR was lodged against them, he said.

In response to this, the court said the SHO, in the FIR, mentions that the first FIR was lodged at 9am and an investigation team departed from a police station at 9:30am, whereas the alleged incident took place at 10:30am.

As the incident occurred in Islamabad, the court said it was "crystal clear" from the peculiar facts that no raiding party had departed from Lahore.

The court mentioned that the SHO just produced the record of his own FIR, which is "devoid of any police diary, statement, of any person recorded [...] and recovery memo of crime empties fired by the accused party".

The court asked the police to conduct a proper inquiry and interview relevant people in the case as it noted that the SHO "registered the FIR just for showing fake efficiency."

The court, however, dismissed the plea and said the case was presented before an anti-terrorism court (ATC), which would decide the further course of action against the journalist.