Cases filed against journalist Bilal Farooqi have attracted widespread condemnation. The journalist was briefly detained by Police on Friday but later released.
According to the his wife, Bilal was picked up from his home in Karachi’s DHA by two plainclothesmen and a uniformed policeman.
“The same people returned to their home after an hour and asked for his mobile phone”, she said.
Kiyya Baloch, Norway based journalist said in a tweet: “How terrible! Bilal Farooqi, who used to report missing person cases from Balochistan and other parts of Pakistan has himself gone missing.”
Pakistan’s based Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) demanded an impartial inquiry into the matter and Bilal’s immediate release.
According to the reports “Bilal was detained in relation to an FIR registered against him two days ago”.
The FIR, lodged by a man namely Javed Khan, said Farooqi was posting “extremely provocative” content based on “religious hatred” on his Facebook and Twitter handles.
According to the FIR, Bilal Farooqi has been booked under section 505 of the Pakistan Penal Code and section 196 of the Criminal Procedure Code for ‘spreading and inciting hatred’. AIG Ghulam Nabi Memon confirmed that Bilal was arrested by the Defence police as he was “wanted in FIR No 613/2020 u/s 500/505 PPC of PS Defence, dated 9.9.2020”.
Human rights activist and lawyer Jibran Nasir told media that he met Farooqi at the Defence police station and got him uncuffed. The lawyer said he will be representing Farooqi before the court.
His friends said Bilal was released on the ‘personal bail’ by his lawyer Jibran Nasir. Bilal’s family also confirmed that he has returned home.
It should be recalled that Sajid Gondal, the Additional Joint Director of Pakistan’s financial regulatory agency Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), went missing in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad on 3rd September.
After 5 days of detention, he was released.