Pakistani police release journalist accused of defaming army

KARACHI: Pakistani police released a local journalist accused of defaming the military on Saturday (Sep 12) as a court reprimanded the police for overstepping their mandate, a lawyer for journalist Bilal Farooqi said.

Farooqi, a vocal critic of both the military and the government, was arrested on charges of defaming the countrys army and spreading religious hatred on Friday.

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Farooqis arrest and subsequent release is the latest in a spate of moves against journalists who have been critical of the government. It comes just days after Prime Minister Imran Khan reiterated that Pakistan has a free media.

“The court asked the police if a FIR (first information report) does not stand ground, who has given you authority to pick up people from home,” Ghulam Shabbir, Farooqi's lawyer told Reuters.

Pakistani journalist Bilal Farooqi who according to police has been charged with defaming the country's powerful army and spreading religious hatred, stands with lawyers before appearing for case proceedings at the district City Court in Karachi, Pakistan September 12, 2020. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

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