The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Friday dismissed the Prevention of Electronic Crime Act (PECA) Amendment Ordinance 2022 while accepting the petitions of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and others. The court instructed secretary interior to initiate an inquiry against the FIA officials involved in misuse of powers under PECA and submit report within thirty days. The court set aside Section 20 of PECA Ordinance and also terminated the FIRs registered under the law. Chief Justice Athar Minallah announced the verdict which was earlier reserved after listening to arguments from all respondents. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) submitted its report in light of the directives of IHC. At the outset of hearing, the chief justice remarked that anyone must be answerable on violation of basic human rights. The FIA submitted SOPs to the court but the same were violated as well, it observed. Addressing the official of FIA, the court said the department had included the PECA sections in various complaints which couldn’t be applied on these matters. Director FIA Baber Bakht argued that the department used to face pressure to implement the available laws. The court asked whether the FIA took action ever for a common citizen if it was done then the court must favor the department. Director FIA said that in several cases the department used to arrest the accused before registration of first information report. The cases were registered once the recoveries were made from accused after his arrest, he said. The court expressed annoyance and asked under what law the FIA could arrest the people in such way. The FIA had even no regret on its practice and still giving arguments in its support, the court said. The court observed that the journalists were being monitored, whether it was the job of FIA. After listening arguments, the court reserved its judgment and later on dismissed the amendment in PECA. The court said that the freedom of expression was a basic human right and access to information was necessary for the prosperity of a society. The court order said that it expected from the government that it would review the Defamation Ordinance 2002 and give suggestion to the Parliament to make it further effective. The court also instructed the Secretary Interior to investigate the way of practice of officials of Cyber Crime Wing FIA. It added that the PECA Ordinance had been imposed in violations of Article 9, 14, 19 and A-19 of the constitution. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb Friday commended the decision of Islamabad High Court. The spokesperson, in a tweet, congratulated the people of Pakistan, journalists, civil society, media institutions including Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA), All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), and Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors (AEMEND).