The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday dismissed a case filed by Federal Minister for Communication and Postal Services Murad Saeed against media person Mohsin Baig under Section 20 of the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) ordinance. The high court also dismissed the cases against journalist Bilal Ghauri and Absar Alam that were registered under the same section. However, it added that the minister could file a case under other defamation laws. In an earlier hearing, the IHC said the amendments to the PECA through an ordinance promulgated in February this year were ‘unconstitutional’. The decision was announced by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah in connection with the petitions filed against the PECA ordinance by the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) and other media bodies. In a four-page order, CJ Minallah said the court has also declared null and void Section 20 of the PECA law. The IHC has also ordered a probe into the abuse of power by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) under the PECA law and the interior secretary has been directed to submit a report in this regard within 30 days. The cases registered under Section 20 of PECA have also been dismissed, the court said. The IHC said the government is expected to review the legislation concerning defamation as freedom of expression was one of the fundamental rights. “Access to information and freedom to express opinions are vital for a vibrant society,” the court said, adding that attempts to undermine these rights were contrary to the democratic spirit and against the Constitution. On March 17, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had arrested Baig, after a large contingent of police raided his house in the morning for criticising Communications Minister Murad Saeed. The FIA had registered a case against Baig at Saeed’s request, days after the former made an unethical and disparaging remark against the latter during a private TV channel programme. The panellists were discussing Murad’s ministry receiving a top performance award by Prime Minister Imran Khan recently. The programme received heavy criticism from the government quarters, and the channel was also served a show-cause notice by the media regulator.