Thursday July 18, 2024

Anti-judiciary campaign: Vlogger Asad Toor granted post-arrest bail

Special Judge Central Humayun Dilawar heard plea filed by Asad Toor

By Arfa Feroz Zake
March 16, 2024
Vlogger Asad Toor speaks during his YouTube show in this still taken from a video uploaded on February 25, 2024.
Vlogger Asad Toor speaks during his YouTube show in this still taken from a video uploaded on February 25, 2024.

An Islamabad court on Saturday accepted vlogger Asad Toor's petition seeking post-arrest bail in a case related to anti-judiciary campaign on social media.

Special Judge Central Humayun Dilawar heard the plea filed by Toor and ordered his release in the case. The vlogger was arrested by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) over charges of stoking a social media campaign against the judges. 

The court granted Toor's bail in exchange for a bond of Rs5,000. FIA Special Prosecutor Syed Ashfaq Hussain Shah did not oppose the petitioner's bail plea.

In January, 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.

On February 23, Toor was detained by the FIA for eight hours after he appeared before the JIT in connection with the investigation despite not being served notice per the due process, his lawyer, Imaan Mazari said.

The YouTuber was subsequently arrested on February 26 in connection with the case and was sent on a five-day physical the next day. On March 6, the same lower court extended Toor’s physical remand for two days.

Later on March 8, the vlogger was sent to jail on a 14-day judicial remand.

According to the first information report (FIR) against Toor, the vlogger allegedly ran a malicious campaign against the judiciary on social media platform X and YouTube.

It added that he had fueled anti-state activities through social media and he has been booked under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016.

Notices against Asad Toor against law: IHC

On the other hand, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) declared notices issued by the FIA as against the law.

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq issued a seven-page written order.

The court issued a written decision on the petition filed by Toor against the FIA notices.

"The notices were issued against the law and then an FIR was lodged," said the IHC in its decision.

The court said that it does not have the power to take suo-motu notice, hence, it cannot order Asad Toor's release.

It added that the court was wrapping up the petition with observations as only the notices were challenged.