TV anchor Imran Riaz says he is arrested at the behest of ‘Queen Maryam Nawaz’

  Anchorperson and YouTuber Imran Riaz is once again back in custody -- but this time in jail. Riaz says "Queen Maryam Nawaz is behind his arrest."

By Irum Salemm

  Anchorperson and YouTuber Imran Riaz is once again back in custody — but this time in jail. Riaz says “Queen Maryam Nawaz is behind his arrest.”

   But gos family is at least satisfied that he is sent to jail.

    He is arrested this time in a corruption case.

    Riaz was arrested late last night from his home, with visuals of the arrest going viral on social media. The PTI has decried the arrest and called for Riaz’s immediate release.

    Dawn reported that Riaz was presented before Judicial Magistrate Imran Abid by the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE). According to the ACE, Riaz and his father have been accused of securing a contract pertaining to Dharabi Lake in Chakwal at an inflated price.

    The first information report (FIR) registered against Riaz, a copy of which is available with, invoked Sections 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention), 161 (public servant taking gratification other than legal remuneration in respect to an official act) and 162 (taking gratification, in order by corrupt or illegal means to influence public servant) of the Pakistan Penal Code. It also invoked Section 5(2)47 (criminal misconduct) of the Prevention Of Corruption Act, 1947.

During the hearing, the ACE sought a 14-day physical remand of Riaz.

“One of Riaz’s lawyers, Rana Maroof, said that the case filed against his client was against the law and false. He maintained that Riaz’s father never served as a government official,” the paper said.

Maroof argued that Riaz had not caused harm to the national treasury. “Imran Riaz was arrested like a terrorist,” he said.

Advocate Azhar Siddique, Riaz’s other lawyer, said that the anti-corruption authorities had neither evidence nor any documents to prove the allegations against his client.

During the hearing, Riaz said: “These people came to my house. I surrendered to them. I told them not to enter my home. They made me sit in the car and then entered my home. They searched my home for 15 minutes.”

He asserted that authorities were lying about the contract in question. “The previous contract was Rs11 million. We took this contract for an upwards of Rs4m,” he said.

He said that handcuffs were being slapped on his wrists in order to “pay salute to the queen” — an apparent reference to PML-N’s Maryam Nawaz, who has been nominated by the party for the slot of provincial chief minister.

“The queen is being made the chief minister after stealing the people’s votes,” he said. He called on authorities to show a single legal document which highlighted any form of corruption.

“What upsets me is the fact that my father has been called corrupt,” Riaz said, adding that his father was an honest man. He asked for his father to be removed from the first information report.

Riaz said that he had great hope from the judiciary, adding that he would continue to fight the “corrupt mafia”.

The anchorperson further stated that he had “borne all the cruelty” on his own. “If I am stuttering again today it is because my father was called corrupt,” he claimed.

“The institutions and their people are my own even if they beat me […] these are people from the ACE and they are doing their jobs,” Riaz said. “If they arrest me today, it is possible that some other people will meet me [in custody] and torture me.

“But I will bear that cruelty as well,” he told the court, recalling that his wife begged those who arrested him last night and kept asking why the anchorperson was being arrested. “I myself didn’t know why they were arresting me and who they were,” Riaz added.

He went on to say that he had surrendered himself but requested the authorities to not enter his house. “Yet, they entered my home and I don’t know what they did there,” Riaz said.

He also expressed hope that the country would recover one day, adding that Pakistan “will not stay like this forever”.

“Most of my journalist friends tell me to leave the country and purchase property abroad. But I tell them that I will stay in Pakistan as long as l am alive. Whatever I earned was spent in this country,” Riaz added.

Subsequently, the court reserved the verdict on the request for the anchorperson’s physical remand. Later, the judge rejected the ACE’s plea and sent Riaz to jail on judicial remand.

In the written order, the judicial magistrate said that the perusal of the record showed that the accused is “well nominated in the FIR and a specific role has been assigned to him”.

“Careful perusal of the record shows that all the necessary documents required for the purpose of investigation are already in the possession of the prosecution. Accused has already given all the necessary documents in the case to the investigation officer (IO) during the course of the inquiry,” the magistrate said.

He further noted that since nothing needed to be recovered from the accused, there was no need for granting physical remand.

“Hence, the request of the IO for granting 14 days physical remand is turned down and the accused is hereby sent to judicial lockup for 14 days,” he said, adding that Riaz should be presented before the court on March 8.

Separately, the PTI said that Riaz had been “illegally arrested once again” and called for his release.

In a post on X, the party said that Riaz had “suffered enforced disappearance and custodial torture for many months, at the hands of the illegitimate, authoritarian, fascist regime”.

“Imran Riaz Khan is one of the journalists who has been consistently vocal against the regime’s atrocities and unlawful, unconstitutional activities,” the party said.

It said that recently, Riaz was “using his voice against the unprecedented, brazen electoral fraud, which stole the two-thirds majority mandate of Imran Khan’s PTI”.

PTI leader Omar Ayub Khan also strongly condemned the arrest. Calling Riaz an “independent minded journalist”, Omar said that he was abducted for months.

“He was released in a very weak state, and he suffered greatly during his ‘enforced disappearance’. This proves that there is no ‘rule of law’ in Pakistan,” he said. PAK DESTINY

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