LAHORE: Journalists Amir Mir and Imran Shafqat were released today by the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) cybercrime wing, after being arrested for their “disrespectful attitude” against the Pakistan Army, the judiciary and women.
According to a press release, the journalists were arrested after cases were registered against them under Sections 11, 13, 20 and 24 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 and Sections 469, 500, 505 and 509 of the Pakistan Penal Code.
The statement claimed that two YouTube channels the men were associated with were releasing messages attempting to weaken national security institutions.
“The two suspects had been released on bail while the investigation against them would continue,” it added. The FIA said it would gather more evidence against the two journalists and submit a challan to the court.
The arrest of the two journalists was quick to garner attention on social media, with politicians, rights activists and the journalist community condemning the FIA’s move.
PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari condemned the arrests and demanded the release of Mir and Shafqat. “Imran Khan continues victimisation of political opponents and media critics to hide his incompetence and failures,” he said.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) termed the arrests “inexcusable”. “It is no coincidence that both are known as dissenting voices,” the HRCP said.