No say in how FIA proceeded, says Murad after Baig’s arrest

Communications and Postal Services Minister Murad Saeed said on Thursday that he had no say in how the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) proceeded following his complaint on remarks made against him during a television show last week, adding that he had acted according to the law by registering a complaint and had no involvement in subsequent proceedings by the agency.

“As a Pakistani, who has confidence in the Constitution and law of Pakistan, I acted in a lawful manner. After that … how the institution proceeded, it is its mandate. I shouldn’t be asked about this,” he said while replying to reporters’ questions during a press conference in Islamabad.

The whole episode is centered on a talk show aired on a private television channel wherein the anchor and panelists had questioned Prime Minister Imran Khan’s decision to award Murad the first place among the 10 best performing federal ministries. The panel had made several “critical and disparaging remarks” about the federal minister, insinuating with innuendoes that some “other factors” were behind the award than his ministry’s performance.

During that show, one of the panelists, Mohsin Jamil Baig, had referred to a book written by PM Imran’s ex-wife Reham Khan, suggesting that the reason for Murad’s recognition was mentioned in that book.

The programme had attracted a flurry of criticism from government officials.

Subsequently, an FIA team raided Baig’s residence in Islamabad on Wednesday, taking action on Murad’s complaint. During that raid, officials alleged Baig shot at and roughed up members of the FIA team, following which he was arrested by police and a separate case was registered against him for attacking government officials.

According to the FIA, Murad had registered a first information report (FIR) against Baig at a cybercrime reporting centre of the agency in Lahore. The FIR said Baig had “assassinated” Murad’s character by using “immoral and abusive language” in the talk show.

Earlier in his press conference, Murad has said that he was being targeted through a smear campaign by those political leaders who are part of the status quo and never wanted young leaders like him to become part of parliament.

“Those who consider parliament as their property and politics their business are running a malicious campaign against me,” Saeed said while addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Thursday.

“Whenever I raise voice against injustice and corruption, [political leaders] like Qadir Patel, Hafiz Hamdullah, Aga Rafiullah, Rana Sanaullah and others use foul language against me,” he added. The media cells of PPP and PML-N were also involved in running the smear campaign against me on social media, he added.

The minister said he was ready to hold a debate on the performance of his ministry and the criteria on which his ministry retained first position among “top ten best performing ministries”.

Saeed said he belonged to a middle-class family and rose to the top in politics through his political struggle.