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Sindh High Court stops FIA from taking action against Hareem Shah


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KARACHI:-The Sindh High Court (SHC) has restrained the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) from taking action against TikTok sensation Hareem Shah in a money laundering case.

The SHC issued the stay order on Monday after Hareem’s lawyer filed an urgent petition against the FIA’s inquiry in a money laundering case on behalf of her husband, Syed Bilal Hussain Shah.

FIA had asked the State Bank of Pakistan to freeze all bank accounts held by Hareem and launched action against her social media accounts with the help of the Ministry of Science and Technology and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

The petitioners, nominating the Federation of Pakistan, FIA director, federal Ministry of Information Technology, PTA and SBP as respondents, had challenged FIA’s call-up notice issued to Hareem on January 13, directing her to appear before the Agency officials on January 19.

They maintained that Hareem was unable to appear before the FIA on the given date to join the inquiry as she was in London

The petition said Hareem is currently in London.

“A video of mine regarding foreign currency circulated on social media, however, I had issued a clarification statement regarding the video,” the petition read.

Hareem’s lawyer informed the court that despite FIA’s orders for freezing the social media celebrity’s bank accounts, she wants to cooperate with the Agency in the probe but fears being arrested upon her return from the United Kingdon.

The lawyer assured the court that Hareem would join the inquiry as soon as she gets back to Pakistan.

At this, the SHC granted Hareem an exemption from the summon issued by the FIA till her return from London and restricted the Agency from any coercive action against the celebrity.

“No coercive action shall be taken against the petitioner till the next hearing,” the court remarked.

Moreover, the court also summoned FIA Sindh’s official responsible for conducting the probe in personal capacity on the next hearing, due in the first week of March.

‘Video aimed at fun’

Speaking to Advocate Munir told that he had filed the petition under Article 199(2) of the Constitution of Pakistan [pertaining to the right to move a high court for the enforcement of any of the Fundamental Rights conferred by Chapter 1 of Part II shall not be abridged].

“We contended before the court that allegations against Hareem Shah are completely false. It’s shocking that the Government of Pakistan targeted her social media accounts and launched criminal proceedings against her over a video intended to entertain people.”

He said that he informed the court on behalf of his clients, Hareem and her husband, that her social media accounts have been restricted which is highly vindictive.

Advocate Munir said that they are grateful to the SHC for issuing a restraining order against the FIA till further notice.

Tiktok removes verification badge from Hareem’s account

Meanwhile, Hareem confirmed to this correspondent that popular video sharing application, TikTok removed her blue tick verification badge after being approached by Pakistani over “false allegations”.

A day ahead of the filing of the plea, Hareem had requested the FIA to stop her media trial and end the vindictive campaign.

She said it was highly unfortunate that the FIA released her passport and visa details to the media to target her and then released news to the media after seeking to freeze her bank accounts.

Hareem said that former Accountability Minister Shahzad Akbar asked the UK National Crime Agency (NCA) to take action against her but the NCA took no action because “the NCA knows about the reality of politically-motivated and fake cases.”

The alleged money-laundering case

The FIA had launched a money-laundering probe against Hareem after a video of her claiming to have travelled abroad with a large sum of money went viral recently.

On January 10, 2022, the TikToker uploaded a video on social media in which she could be seen flaunting two stacks of British pounds.

At this, the FIA had announced that it had initiated an investigation over Hareem’s claim of having “successfully carried a hefty amount of money in cash to the United Kingdom” as against the law.

The FIA had decided to write a letter to the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA) to take action against Shah.

An FIA spokesperson told Geo News that an investigation regarding Hareem’s travel to the UK was already underway, adding that the celebrity had herself confessed to laundering money to the UK, following which a probe was launched.

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