Journalist Israr Ahmed Rajput Cleared After Court Finds Error in FIR, No Malice  | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

Journalist Israr Ahmed Rajput Cleared After Court Finds Error in FIR, No Malice 

Pakistan Press Foundation

Judge Dr Mumtaz Hanjra of Judicial Complex Rawalpindi on March 25 dismissed the case against The Nation newspaper crime reporter Israr Ahmed Rajput. The court ordered Rajput’s release, finding that the initial First Information Report (FIR) was not filed in accordance with the law and that there was no evidence of malicious intent on the journalist’s part.

The case stemmed from a tweet posted by Rajput regarding a sensitive religious issue. He had quickly deleted the tweet and apologized after realizing it was inaccurate. However, an FIR was registered against him under Section 153-A of the Pakistan Penal Code, which carries a potential prison sentence of up to five years for promoting religious disharmony.

Rajput’s lawyer, Advocate Masood Shah, argued before the court that the FIR was invalid. He asserted that a DFC of a police station lacks the authority to register such a complaint. Additionally, I.O. Wajid admitted in court to following Rajput on X and seeing the tweet, which was later deleted.

Rajput was arrested on March 24, by the Pirwadhai Police in Rawalpindi. Initially Investigation Officer Wajid of Punjab Police sought a 14-day judicial remand.

Announcing the arrest, the Rawalpindi Police had tweeted that Rajput was arrested for spreading false rumors of a sensitive religious nature on social media. The police asserted: “Respected, the above has spread a false rumor of an attack by agitators on Imambargah in the Purodhai area, in respect of which action has been taken according to law on merit. Rawalpindi Police is always trying to ensure the safety of life and property of citizens.”

The Nation Editor Salman Masood  tweeted: “I’m deeply troubled by the arrest of Israr Ahmed Rajput, a journalist with The Nation, by the Rawalpindi Police over a mere tweet. He quickly deleted the factually incorrect tweet after realizing his mistake. Despite this, the police arrested him. This heavy-handed action is excessive and feels like a direct assault on press freedom.”

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