PPF condemns registration of FIRs against media professionals Shaheen Sehbai, Wajahat Saeed Khan, Moeed Pirzada and Sabir Shakir
Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) condemns the registration of First Information Reports (criminal complaints) against four media professionals — Shaheen Sehbai, Wajahat Saeed Khan, Moeed Pirzada and Sabir Shakir — amongst others for allegedly inciting violence through their videos and social media posts on May 9, when violent protests erupted in Pakistan following the arrest of former prime minister Imran Khan.
In an FIR registered at the Ramna Police Station in Islamabad, dated June 10, a complainant named Muhammad Aslam, claimed that on May 9, he saw that 20-25 individuals were inciting people to take part in terrorist activities through the video message, Twitter account screenshots and social media screenshots of journalists Khan and Sehbai as well as two others.
Another FIR, registered at the Aabpara Police Station in the capital, dated June 13, by a complainant named Majid Mehmood stated that on May 9 he was at the Melody area in the capital where he that 15-20 people involved in the destruction were taking instruction from the videos of anchorpersons Shakir and Pirzada and one other person.
The criminal complaints against the media persons were registered under identical sections of the Pakistan Penal Code and the Anti-Terrorism Act. All four media professionals are currently outside Pakistan.
Speaking to PPF, Shakir said that the case registered on him and Pirzada was
“nothing but baseless allegations”. Shakir added that he was consulting his legal representatives who would collectively deal with the case in Islamabad High Court.
Shakir added that he was not surprised when he came across the news of the case being registered against him as cases had been registered against other journalists with the same charges.
In a tweet, Pirzada said that he had come to know about the “bogus and baseless” criminal complaint registered against him through a friend. He noted that Shakir was currently in London while Khan and Sehbai were in the United States.
Khan also took to Twitter to respond to the case registered against him.
National Press Club Islamabad Vice President Myra Azam told PPF that due to the serious allegations by citizens against the media professionals which are “unrealistic and baseless”, they would call a protest for the dismissal of the FIRs.Following the arrest of former premier Imran Khan and the violent protests that followed, journalists and media professionals have faced arrests, raids and harassment as well as violence during the protests from both police and protestors.