February 12, 2020
Journalist Gul Bukhari said on Wednesday that she had not received any notice from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), a day after the media reported that she had been summoned by the agency in an inquiry against “anti-state elements”.
While talking to Dawn.com, Bukhari said she had not received a formal summons.
Yesterday, some media outlets reported that the FIA’s Counter-Terrorism Wing had summoned Bukhari. Later, a document circulated on the media, saying that the FIA’s Counter-Terrorism Wing had initiated 35 inquiries against “anti-state elements” who were “involved in spreading inciteful propaganda against national security agencies, judiciary and the government”. The document, which was attributed by the media to the FIA, added that most of the cases were related to cyber-terrorism.
Despite repeated attempts to contact them, no FIA official responded to queries about the summons notice or confirm the veracity of the document being reported by the media.
The document further said that inquiries were launched against militant groups Balochistan Liberation Army, Haqqani Network and “elements who were involved in incitement while sitting abroad”, which included Bukhari.
Bukhari had retweeted the document and news reports by her Twitter account yesterday, along with reactions of journalists and users over the news.
“I retweeted [the document and reports] because that is what they ran on the news. But I did not receive any notice,” she told Dawn.com.
Addressing the charges explained in the press release, Bukhari said: “The grounds are not clear. They said I incite people against state institutions and [am involved in] terrorism.
“They are portraying it as a broad investigation and have included BLA and the Haqqani Network, but the rest of the press release is about me. The thing is, BLA and Haqqani Network do not talk about the state. They kill people.”
She further said that she “did not have anything against any institution”, adding that the press release was part of attempts to silence her.
A vocal critic of the military, Bukhari is a journalist and activist who has worked in broadcast and print for several media groups in Pakistan. She currently resides in the United Kingdom.
In 2018, Bukhari had been abducted by unknown persons in Lahore and had returned after a few hours. According to sources, Bukhari was on her way to the Waqt TV studio on the Fatimah Jinnah Road (Queen’s Road) for a talk show when the vehicle she was travelling in was intercepted by unknown persons. She was subsequently abducted on Sherpao Bridge in Lahore’s Cantonment area. Her family had reported her missing to the police.
Punjab Police had said that the activist had not been detained by its personnel.