New Delhi: The Mohsin Baig-Murad Saeed-Imran Khan saga seems to be a never-ending one in Pakistan. It’s a story of friendship, betrayal and sensational rumours. One, which all goes all the way back to a 2018 book written by Pakistan Prime Minister’s former wife, where she alleges that Khan was gay and shared a relationship with Saeed.
Pakistan Federal Investigation Agency (FIA)’s Cybercrime Wing and the Islamabad Police on Wednesday, arrested Baig, a journalist and former aide of Imran Khan during his opposition days-turned foe, in a raid for making ‘indecent remarks’ about the prime minister and federal minister Murad Saeed.
This is #MohsinBaig arrested today in Islamabad. When @ImranKhanPTI was in opposition Baig was very close to him. When Khan became PM he not only started losing friends but converting them into enemies. pic.twitter.com/a1ou7lGgBa
— Hamid Mir (@HamidMirPAK) February 16, 2022
When questioned about Khan’s ‘favouritism’ towards Saeed in a TV debate, Baig is said to have answered with a reference to the book by the prime ministers’ former wife, Reham Khan, where she claimed both politicians shared a romantic relationship.
تھریڈ: مراد سعید غلاظت بھری صحافت کا نشانہ
3 سینیئر صحافی، ایک سینیئر تجزیہ نگار اور اینکر… سب مراد سعید کو کارکردگی ایوارڈ ملنے پر ریحام خان کی غلاظت کا حوالہ دے رہے ہیں کسی ایک کے پاس بھی ڈیٹا نہیں ہے جس کی بنیاد پر مراد سعید کو ایوارڈ ملا. 1/ pic.twitter.com/bRWCcmrhLu
— پاکستانی رینچ 👨🏾🔧 (@NaikRooh) February 11, 2022
Federal minister Saeed, in addition to filing the complaint that led to Baig’s arrest, decided to sue Reham Khan for the book she wrote three years ago. Meanwhile, the Imran Khan-led government recently deferred a complaint against an additional session judge in Islamabad for “going beyond his mandate” in declaring the raid at Baig’s house ‘illegal’ and telling the Islamabad inspector general of police (IGP) to take action against the station house officer of Margalla police.
Baig’s message to Imran Khan
What began as a raid at Baig’s residence quickly turned into a hostile situation. Videos have emerged of Baig assaulting and holding hostage an alleged FIA official and firing a gun at others. He was booked under various sections of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and Anti Terrorist Act (ATA).
This is clear footage of #MohsinBaig holding an FIA officer hostage, assaulting that officer & then opening direct fire at other LEAs. This is terrorism. These is no way to spin it.
And if Govt & Judiciary fail to hold him accountable, then we better disband the entire state. pic.twitter.com/UuDzYigxtQ
— Asfandyar Bhittani (@BhittaniKhannnn) February 16, 2022
In custody, with handcuffs on, Baig also had a message for Imran Khan: “My message to Imran Khan is that his days of disgrace are soon to come.” (uske zillat ke din aane vaale hain)
Since his arrest, there’ve also been reports of Baig being tortured in police custody. The Islamabad High court on Friday directed the IGP to probe the matter and submit a report on it, according to Dawn.
‘Terrorist’ or ‘Journalist’?
Baig’s arrest has clearly garnered many responses. While former PM Nawaz Sharif, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists and former president Asif Ali Zardari, have all condemned Baig’s arrest and demanded his immediate release, many have called out Baig for his behaviour, calling him a ‘terrorist’ and not a journalist.
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has condemned the arrest of Editor Mohsin Baig and harassment of his family members by the Federal Investigation Agency's officials. pic.twitter.com/ObHRG38LIa
— PFUJ Official (@OfficialPfuj) February 16, 2022
Mohsin Baig, journalist or not, should have the law come down on him like a ton of bricks. Civilisation is just a step away from barbarity, and that includes all of us. Only the most draconian penalisation of miscreants prevents most from taking that step pic.twitter.com/NBon3zsxsM
— Javed Hassan (@javedhassan) February 16, 2022
— Imran Afzal Raja®️عمران افضل راجہ (@ImranARaja1) February 16, 2022
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz vice president Maryam Nawaz criticised Imran Khan for Baig’s arrest and tweeted that he was not “a creature descended from the sky” to raid citizens’ houses and “put them behind bars”. Leader of the Opposition, Shehbaz Sharif, also tweeted, saying that the arrest shows “how panicked the regime is”.
آپ @ImranKhanPTI کوئی آسمان سے اتری مخلوق نہیں جس کی شان میں گستاخی کرنے پر شہریوں کے گھروں پر دھاوا بولا جائے گا اور انکو سلاخوں کے پیچھے پھینکا جائے گا۔آپ کی اہلیہ کا جو احترام ہے وہی میری ICU میں بیہوش پڑی والدہ کا ہونا چاہیے تھا،مخالفین کی بہنوں اور بیٹیوں کا ہونا چاہیے تھا
— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) February 16, 2022
Arrest of Mohsin Baig, once a fast friend of IK, shows how panicked the regime is. Niazi sb gives long sermons on democray & morality but cannot stand even minor criticism. Free speech has vastly been curtailed in last 3.5 years of his rule. It is worst time in nation's history.
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) February 16, 2022
Meanwhile, Pakistani reporter Ahmad Noorani went on to call Baig an ‘ISI agent’, as another journalist said that Baig’s case certainly was “not a case of press freedom in Pakistan.”
How a regular government servant with a pensionable job can be a journalist? Mohsin Baig is a regular ISI official serving the organization for the last thirty years. He headed many ISI projects including Online news agency. How he can be termed as a journalist?
— Ahmad Noorani (@Ahmad_Noorani) February 16, 2022
Mohsin Baig case is certainly not the case of freedom of the Press.
— Mazhar Abbas (@MazharAbbasGEO) February 17, 2022
When FIA went to arrest Journalist Mohsin Baig he fired on FIA inspector and injured him. Firing continued for one hour from his house.
FIA inspector admitted to the hospital.
Now all the so called “Great Journalistic Minds” will condemn the arrest but not the firing.
— Mir Mohammad Alikhan (@MirMAKOfficial) February 16, 2022
In 2018 in her book, Reham Khan — Imran Khan’s former wife — had said he was gay and had relationships with Pakistani actor Hamza Ali Abbasi and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf worker and now minister Murad Saeed. At the time, Saeed had denied such reports but did not pursue any legal action.
“I have nothing to say about Reham Khan’s allegations and whatever filth the woman’s written about me or anyone. It’s shameful beyond words. It’s pretty obvious whose hands she’s playing in, the woman and her aides have totally lost the plot”, he had tweeted at the time.
I have nothing to say about Reham Khan’s allegations and whatever filth the woman’s written about me or anyone. It’s shameful beyond words. It’s pretty obvious whose hands she’s playing in, the woman and her aides have totally lost the plot.
— Murad Saeed (@MuradSaeedPTI) June 5, 2018