Arrested Pakistani journalist critical of Sharif govt cleared of charges by court
Riaz was taken into custody at the Allama Iqbal International Airport late on Tuesday night while leaving for Hajj

at 12:53 am
Pakistani anchorperson Riaz Khan with his lawyer

Lahore, June 14: Well-known Pakistani anchorman and YouTuber Imran Riaz Khan was released by police following a court order that discharged him from charges of interference in official duties.

He was arrested two days ago from the airport while proceeding for Hajj.

The anchorman who has a negative relationship with the Pakistani authorities due to his frequent criticism was released by Sarwar Road police, after magistrates dismissed two FIRs against him on consecutive days. The FIRs accused him of breaching trust and interfering in state matters.

Riaz was taken into custody at the Allama Iqbal International Airport late on Tuesday night, with the visuals of his arrest going viral on the social media as the journalist was embarking to Saudi Arabia for his Haj.

On May 29, Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court, Justice Aamer Farooq, allowed Imran Riaz to perform Hajj. However, despite the court’s permission, he was barred from travelling to Saudi Arabia for Hajj on June 3 and had to return home, stating his intent to seek court intervention again.

On June 12, the Islamabad High Court once more permitted Imran Riaz to proceed with Hajj. Yet, on the same day, he was arrested at Lahore Airport, clad in ihram, just as he was about to depart.

A case under Section 406 for breach of trust was filed against him, but the Model Town Court in Lahore dismissed these charges on June 13. Nonetheless, he was rearrested in connection with another case.

Following the footage of his arrest, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf demanded his immediate release.

The police had sought his seven-day physical remand in Wednesday’s hearing before the Model Town Court judicial magistrate, with the judge ultimately letting Riaz walk free due to lack of substantial evidence.

This is not the first time the journalist has had to face government’s ire, as he was arrested earlier this year after being charged with corruption regarding the Dhrabi Lake contract in Chakwal and later granted bail by a special court. However, he was rearrested in another case related to violence outside PTI founder Imran Khan’s Zaman Park residence.

On March 10, an anti-terrorism court granted him post-arrest bail against surety bonds worth PKR 200,000. “Registration of cases or even my arrest does not matter to me, but what hurt me the most was being restrained from performing Hajj,” said Imran Riaz.