FIA allowed to investigate complaint against journalist

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday allowed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to investigate a complaint against vlogger and journalist Asad Ali Toor filed by a female television anchorperson Shiffa Yousafazi.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah observed that the court has never stopped FIA from investigation but suspended the notice issued to Toor since it was issued without proper procedure. The observation came during the hearing of the petition filed by Toor seeking suspension of notice issued to him in another case pertaining to ‘defaming’ the institution.

The IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah was hearing two identical petitions of Toor filed against summoning him in two different cases related to his vlogs and social media updates.

The first petition was taken up on May 7 and IHC Chief Justice has suspended the notice issued to Toor by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

Advocate Jawad Hussain Adil, counsel for Ms Yousafzai, informed the court that since the court had suspended the notice, FIA had stopped investigating the matter.

When the court inquired from the FIA about the progress, its assistant director replied that since the court had suspended the notice, the FIA did not proceed in this matter.

Justice Minallah reminded him that the court never stopped the investigating agency from performing lawful tasks or completing investigations.

He remarked that the court had suspended the notice since it was apparently issued without completing the formalities. Moreover, there was no reason mentioned in the notice for which it was served to Toor.

As per the complaint of Ms Yousafazi, Toor has recently uploaded three videos, one after the other, wherein he has made bizarre allegations against the complainant which are based on frivolous grounds, weak assumptions and mala-fide intentions.

It said that the defamatory remarks do not in any way correspond with the existing ground realities and are indeed ill founded and are being propounded with mala fide intention of maligning the complainant’s name and reputation.

She also listed the links to all three videos as well as the transcripts with the complaint.

Justice Minallah advised the FIA to proceed on the complaints filed under the Prevention of Electronic Crime Act (Peca) in accordance with the law.

“The complainant has to establish its case before the investigating agency first, and then the investigating officer may issue notice to the accused,” he said.

However, in certain cases, the complaints were filed by a third person, he added.

Another complaint against the vlogger was based on the complaint of a citizen Fayyaz Mehmood Raja. The complainant pointed out that he was perturbed to see vlogs and tweets of Toor since these were against the national institutions.

The court suspended this notice as well and adjourned the hearing till June 30.


NCOC plans to vaccinate 70m by year-end

ISLAMABAD: While under 2,000 new Covid-19 cases and less than four per cent positivity rate were reported on the second consecutive day on Wednesday, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) decided to launch a campaign to vaccinate 70 million people by the end of current year.

The campaign is aimed at reducing adverse effects of the viral disease to provide substantial flexibility to the business fraternity to enable them to continue their businesses with minimum restrictions.

Meanwhile, the number of active Covid-19 cases has decreased by 40pc in the last two months. A significant decrease in the number of hospitalised patients has also been observed.

A meeting of the National Coordination Committee on Monday, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, had decided to expedite vaccination to achieve herd immunity at the earliest. It was also decided that various segments of public and private sectors would be involved in the vaccination process under the “whole of the nation approach”.

According to a statement issued by the NCOC, the mass vaccination drive strategy revolves around three objectives: motivation of public through effective media partnership, capacity building of existing vaccination infrastructure and uninterrupted supply of vaccine, including indigenous production which has begun on Tuesday with the launching of PakVac by the National Institute of Health (NIH).

The NIH has prepared 120,000 doses of the vaccine, from the concentrate of Chinese company Cansino’s single dose vaccine, and aims to produce three million doses every month.

“A target to vaccinate 70 million people by the end of this year has been set by NCOC. All federating units have been taken on board to enhance their vaccination capacity for which federal government will provide necessary assistance. Federating units have also been asked to engage private sector including business community, media, religious scholars and other departments for close collaboration in this campaign,” the statement said.

Two special sessions of the NCOC, chaired by its chairman Asad Umar, were held and attended by representatives of media houses, chambers of commerce and the Pakistan Business Council. The participants assured the NCOC of their organisations’ support to contribute to the national mass vaccination campaign.

Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar highlighted that the campaign was aimed at reducing adverse effects of disease to provide a substantial flexibility to business fraternity to enable them to continue their businesses with minimum restrictions. The participants were assured of all out support in vaccinating their employees and families.

Later Mr Umar said in a tweet: “Held special NCOC session today with all major chambers in Pakistan. I want to thank the business leadership for willingness to participate in vaccination drive to help Govt accelerate the vaccination campaign & open up the economy while safeguarding health of the nation.

The vaccine statistics show that on Tuesday as many as 305,093 doses were administered and number of total vaccine doses administered is 7,953,574.

According to data of the NCOC, 80 deaths occurred and 1,843 people tested Covid-19 positive with the positivity rate of 3.91pc. The other day 1,771 cases with the positivity rate of 3.72pc were reported.

The number of active cases, which was over 90,000 in April, has fallen by around 40pc as there were 55,052 active cases as of Wednesday. There were 446 patients on ventilators and the number of patients admitted to hospitals was 4,088. In April there were around 7,000 patients admitted to hospitals across the country.

Published in Dawn,