Senior journalist Waqar Satti granted bail in defamation case

By Syed Bilal Izzat Naqvi

ISLAMABAD. In spite of all the high and late tactics of the Punjab Police, Additional District & Session Judge Afzal Majoka has announced that Waqar Satti’s bail was approved.

On August 27, 2022, a first Information Report (FIR) was filed against Geo News correspondent Waqqar Satti on allegations of attributing disrespectful statements to former President Imran Khan.

Rawalpindi police registered a blasphemy and defamation case against Waqar on a complaint from a cable operator, Chaudhry Nasir Qayyum, under Sections 295-A and 500 of the Pakistan Penal Code.  The FIR stated statements which, according to the complainter, were disrespectful of Islam.

Waqqar, on Aug 26 posted a video which was deleted later on his Twitter account @waqarsatti in which he took out different statements against Islam and attributed them to Imran, which did not belong to Imran Khan according to the FIR.   “Imran Khan has not mentioned any such words  mentioned in Waqar Satti’s tweet — in any of his speeches,” the FIR quoted him as saying. He added that Satti’s actions had hurt his religious sentiments, “as well as that of thousands of other Muslims”.

President of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, Afzal Butt, and Secretary-General Arshad Ansari condemned the registration of the FIR and called for its withdrawal.  They said in a joint statement that this is the first time in the history of Pakistan that any government has registered a blasphemy case against a journalist which will be written in black letters.

PPF, President Rawalpindi Union of Journalists (RIUJ), Abid Abbasi termed the practice of political parties to register FIRs against journalists a devastating problem. Leadership and even workers of political parties are not accepting the voices that counter their opinions.  Abid added that Waqqar like every other person shared his own opinion on his Twitter account, no one has the right to troll him, and his family and abuse them.

Shakila Jaleel, of Rawalpindi press club strongly condemned the social media campaign and registration of FIR against Waqqar Satti during conversation with PPF.  The leading political parties are shrinking the freedom of the press in the country. The FIR has false accusations, Waqqar in his video did not go to the most extreme level as mentioned in FIR.

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