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Arrested Pak TV host released on bail

Press Trust of India  |  Lahore 

A Pakistani television host accused of making defamatory remarks against the government, judiciary and intelligence agencies has been released on

Rizwan Razi, who hosts a talk shown on Din News, was arrested on Saturday from his residence in by the cyber crime wing of the (FIA). According to the FIA, the initial investigation revealed that Razi's posts were made through his account.

The FIA sought extension of the journalist's remand on Sunday, but the court rejected it and granted to Razi against a surety bond of Rs one lakh, Razi's said.

He said that the said that the suspect should avoid discussing armed forces and judiciary in his programmes and "it is a test for him, and his shows and posts on will be monitored."

Razi's argued that the arrest of his client was against the freedom of expression and that he did not commit any crime as he was arrested without any complaint.

The FIA said that the initial investigation had revealed that Razi's posts against the Army and judiciary were made through his account.

The was booked under Sections 11 and 20 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, (PPECA) 2016, a cyber-crime which had been widely criticised by civil rights campaigners as 'draconian' at the time of its passage by the Nawaz Sharif-led

The section 11 pertains to hate speech and can carry a prison sentence of up to seven years, as well as a fine.

Section 20 pertains to "offences against the dignity of a natural person" and carries "imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine which may extend to Rs 1 million".

Apart from the PPECA, he was also booked under Sections 123-A and 500 of the Penal Code on the complaint of the state.

According to the FIR, an inquiry has been initiated against Razi for allegedly uploading "defamatory and obnoxious posts" through a account on against judiciary, government institutions and intelligence agencies.

Razi earlier had joined the investigation, and in his statement, he confessed to having uploaded obnoxious posts against the judiciary and other departments through his Twitter account since 2011," the FIR said, adding that the suspect had apologised.

However, he did not stop this practice, the FIA said.

The bodies as well as the opposition parties (Nawaz) PML-N and the (PPP) have condemned the arrest of Razi and also demanded his immediate release.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, February 11 2019. 17:30 IST