IHC asks FIA to stop harassing Sharif critic

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday asked Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the police to stop harassing a prominent TV anchor after his lawyer petitioned the court, saying his client’s fundamental rights were being violated by security officials.

The order by Athar Minallah, chief justice at the high court, followed journalist Arshad Sharif’s petition.

Sharif’s lawyer, Faisal Chaudhry, said the judge also summoned police representatives and those from the agency to appear before him on Friday to explain their position.

Sharif’s talk show, POWERPLAY, airs Monday to Thursday on the ARY News channel, which has been critical of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

The TV anchor’s family said security officers appeared before dawn on Thursday at their home to arrest Sharif but left after they were told he was not there. It remained unclear on what charges the officers wanted to arrest Sharif.

There was no immediate comment from the government.

Prime Minister Sharif was elected earlier this month after the ouster of Imran Khan through a no-confidence vote in National Assembly.

Pakistan has long been an unsafe country for journalists. In 2020, it ranked ninth on the Committee to Protect Journalists’ annual Global Impunity Index, which assesses countries where journalists are regularly killed and the assailants go free.

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