ISLAMABAD – The Cyber Crimes Court in Islamabad has ordered Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Tuesday to submit complete challan in the case of posting defamatory and derogatory comments against a US national woman on social media by a female and her co-accused.
Also, a panel of lawyers namely Muhammad Iftikhar Gul, Muhammad Fahad Shabbir Chaudhry and Syeda Maria Nasir, the counsels for US national lady, submitted an application before the court under section 227 CrPC along with all enabling provisions for addition of offence/charge under section 21 (D) of PECA, 2016, in the case number 422/20 dated 18/12/2020 registered at Police Station FIA Cyber Crime Reporting Centre. Senior Civil Judge-I (West) Islamabad Muhammad Aamir Aziz Khan heard the social media derogatory comments case, who also accepted the application for hearing. The court also directed the defense lawyers to argue on an application filed by the counsel for US national of Pakistani origin Sabeen Mehboob Sultan on the next date of hearing i.e. September 28, 2021.
The accused Maria Farooq alias Maria Orakzai and her co-accused Atiq Azam Khan, an ex-serviceman, who were involved in posting defamatory and vulgar comments against an American national woman, also appeared before the court. However, FIA Investigation Officer (IO)/Sub Inspector (SI) Cyber Crime Reporting Center Islamabad (CCRC) Misbah Batool was absent during the hearing.
When the judge took up the case, the defense lawyers told the judge that complainant Sabeen Mehboob had not only highlighted the matter under trial with the respected court on social media along with pictures of the accused but also got it printed in print and electronic media. The judge remarked this is not the domain of court to stop somebody from going into media or barring media from reporting court cases. The judge advised the accused to report the matter with FIA on which the defense lawyers informed the court that their client Maria Orakzai had already filed an application against the complainant with FIA CCRC Islamabad. Meanwhile, Advocate Muhammad Fahad Shabbir Chaudhry submitted an application before the judge arguing that the above titled case is pending adjudication before this court and was fixed for today for submission of complete challan by the FIA.
He added interim challan was submitted before the court by the concerned IO by mentioning the offence under section 20 and 24 of PECA.
Whereas, it was the basic duty of the IO to read and evaluate the evidence in light of PECA Act, 2016, conversely the IO could not appreciate rather ignored the section/offence of PECA i.e. U/S 21 (d) which was attracted as per the evidence so collected by her.
He also told the court that the charge under the law has to be framed by the court on the basis of material placed before it and the court is not bound by the report submitted U/S 173 CrPC. Nevertheless, the court has to frame the charge after perusing the police report, complaint and the material/evidence so available before the court.
Fahad argued as per the spirit of Section 227 CrPC, this court can add the charge/offence in circumstances of the case, even if that was not mentioned or ignored in the report submitted by the IO.
Senior Civil Judge-I (West) Islamabad Muhammad Aamir Aziz Khan accepted the application for hearing and ordered the defense lawyers to argue on the said application on September 28, the next date of hearing. He also ordered the FIA investigators to submit a complete challan in the case on September 28.
The FIA CCRC Investigators had declared the accused Maria Orakzai and her co-accused Atiq Azam Khan as “guilty” in an interim challan (in Qalandra Case) submitted before the court under section 173 CrPC. It was mentioned in the interim challan by the FIA investigators that the accused lady Maria Farooq with active connivance and upon instigation of Atiq Azam Khan both have committed offences under section 20 and 24 of PECA 2016 r/w 201, 34 and 109 Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) 1860 as she confessed the dissemination of defamatory and vulgar/objectionable comments on the complainant’s picture publicly on her Facebook account.