Journalist charged for attributing ‘disrespectful’ statements on Islam to Imran Khan, report says

·2-min read

A journalist in Pakistan has been booked for allegedly attributing “disrespectful” statements about Islam to former prime minister Imran Khan.

Police in Rawalpindi city registered a case against journalist Waqar Satti on Saturday under charges of outraging religious feelings and defamation.

Satti works as a senior political correspondent for Geo News television.

The case was registered on the basis of a complaint by Chaudhry Nasir Qayyum, a cable operator, reported the country’s Dawn newspaper.

According to police records, the complaint said Mr Qayyum had come across a tweet by the journalist on 24 August in which he had explained why he “hates” the former prime minister.

According to Mr Qayyum, the journalist had made statements that “disrespected” Islam.

“Imran Khan has not mentioned any such words […] mentioned in Waqar Satti’s tweet — in any of his speeches,” the police complaint quoted him as saying.

He added that Satti’s actions had hurt his religious sentiments “as well as that of thousands of other Muslims”.

After Satti was booked, Fawad Chaudhry, a former minister and leader of Mr Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, took to social media and said the case was about “using religion for outrage”.

“And this is what the gentleman did; shame on all supporters for using religion for political purposes,” he said.

The move to book Satti was also condemned by current information minister Marriyum Aurangzeb who said in a tweet that while “Mr Khan holds a seminar on media freedom in Islamabad, he kills that freedom through the Punjab government”, referring to an event the former prime minister had attended.

She also said that when a journalist “points you [Mr Khan] out, his character is assassinated and serious cases are registered against him at your behest.

“This is a clear example of fascism.”

Last month, Mr Khan’s PTI won by-elections for 20 seats in the Punjab assembly.

The win had been followed closely by the former prime minister being charged under the country’s anti-terrorism laws last week.

Mr Khan was handed the charges after he slammed police over the alleged torture of his aide Shahbaz Gill following the latter’s arrest on sedition charges.