The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Won’t tolerate intimidation of press, says CJP

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa on Monday observed that the intimidation of the press would not be tolerated at any cost, since it involves key fundamental rights. The observation came as he was dictating an order, following a prolonged hearing on the harassment of journalists. Headed by the CJP, a threejudge bench including Justice Irfan Saadat Khan and Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan also took up the Press Association of the Supreme Court’s (PAS) challengeto “roving inquiries” instituted against journalists by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on vague allegations of a “malicious campaign” against the superior judiciary and its judges. During the hearing, the allegations levelled by former Rawal-pindi commissioner Liaquat Ali Chattha also echoed in the courtroom. Mr Chattha had, on Feb 17, acc-used both the Election Commi-ssion of Pakistan (ECP) and the CJP of colluding to manipulate the Feb 8 general elections. During Monday’s proceedings, the CJP regretted that the ex-commissioner, who later retracted his words, had levelled accusations against his person, which were run by all television channels without any verification. It is a common practice globally that a piece of news is first verified before being aired, the CJP said, adding that no journalist had asked the accuser what proof he had towards his claim. “When the credibility of the institutions are tarnished, we all get affected,” the CJP deplored, adding that Article 19, which guarantees freedom of expression, did not give a license to level baseless allegations.CJP Isa also expressed serious displeasure with the reports furnished by Islamabad Police and the FIA on the harassment of journalists, and rejected them. The court also expressed its displeasure over police failure to arrest those behind the Jan 2020 abduction of journalist Matiullah Jan. Pointing towards Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan, the court observed that the crime was recorded on cameras installed under the Safe City Project, yet the police was unable to trace those responsible. “What kind of inspector general is this? He should be removed,” the CJP observed, adding that it appeared as if the authorities were playing the role of a facilitator. “Shoot one journalist, torture, or pick up another,” CJP regretted. The AGP, however, assured the court that a comprehensive report would be filed soon. Police also withdrew its statement that journalists were not cooperating with the investigation after they assured the court that they were ready to extend all necessary cooperation in connection with their inquiry.Meanwhile, senior counsel Salahuddin Ahmed — appearing on behalf of PAS — referred to the notices issued by FIA to different journalists for allegedly running a malicious campaign against judges.Dawn

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.