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Monday April 22, 2024

Asad Toor ‘arrested’ in connection with anti-judiciary campaign probe

YouTuber counsel says Toor was summoned by the federal agency for investigation

By Web Desk
February 26, 2024
Blogger Asad Toor speaks during his YouTube show, uploaded on February 25, 2024, in this still taken from a video. — YouTube/@asadtooruncensored9072
Blogger Asad Toor speaks during his YouTube show, uploaded on February 25, 2024, in this still taken from a video. — YouTube/@asadtooruncensored9072

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Monday arrested blogger and YouTuber Asad Ali Toor after he appeared before the investigators in connection with an investigation into a smear campaign against the top court judges.

His counsel Imaan Mazari confirmed the arrest to Geo.tv.

Last month, the caretaker government had constituted a six-member high-powered Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to inquire into the malicious campaign launched against judges of the top court after the CJP Isa-led bench announced the verdict on the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) intra-party polls.

Mazari told Geo.tv that on February 23 (Friday), Toor was “detained” for eight hours by FIA officials after he appeared before the JIT in connection with the investigation despite not being served notice per the due process.

The next day on Saturday, Mazari said an officer of the FIA delivered the second notice, asking the journalist to appear before the JIT at 11am on Monday (today).

“We went to high court today in the morning, and the chief justice, even though I specifically told him about the eight-hour detention and that there’s a real apprehension of arrest because they have threatened us as well, said that he cannot do anything based on apprehensions,” she added.

After the hearing in the Islamabad High Court (IHC), Mazari said she went to the FIA office at 4:46pm when Asad was inside the FIA office for interrogation.

She said the FIA officials kept Toor in custody till about 9pm and thereafter they then sent a handwritten note that he had written to me, giving some instructions and his car keys, mentioning that he’s been arrested.

“My husband, Advocate Hadi, asked them whether he had been formally arrested, to which the FIA officials said yes, without providing an FIR to us,” Mazari added.

Rights activist Usama Khilji also told Geo.tv that the blogger had been arrested without the FIA providing a copy of the complaint against him.

“This will have a chilling effect on all journalism in Pakistan [...] it’s a big matter of concern for all citizens that their right to information is being violated,” Khilji added.

The JIT was tasked with investigating mainly three specific matters: firstly, to ascertain facts behind the malicious social media campaign to malign the image of the honourable judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan; secondly, to identify and bring the culprits to book under the relevant laws and get challans presented the relevant courts; and finally to recommend measures for the prevention of such incidents in future, The News had reported quoting sources.