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JIT investigates bloggers about campaign to malign SC judges

Asad Toor is under investigation by FIA while Imran Riaz Khan was taken into custody by Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment

By Ag App & Shakeel Anjum
February 24, 2024
The Supreme Court of Pakistan building in Islamabad. — AFP/File
The Supreme Court of Pakistan building in Islamabad. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The joint investigation team (JIT) that is conducting an inquiry to ascertain facts behind an ongoing social media campaign to malign the honourable judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan has found in the first phase of the inquiry two bloggers – Asad Toor and Imran Riaz – involved in trolling judges of the apex court, mainly the chief justice of Pakistan, JIT sources told this correspondent on Friday.

“Asad Toor was rounded up for investigation on Friday and his statement was recorded about his motives behind the malicious campaign against the judges,” the sources said and added that the journalist remained with the JIT at the FIA (Cybercrime Wing), along with his counsel Eman Mazari, daughter of former federal minister and ex-PTI leader Shireen Mazari, till the filing of this report.

“Imran Riaz has also been summoned by the JIT to join the course of the inquiry and to clear his position, but he is already in the custody of the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) in a case lodged against him by the ACE,” the sources maintained, adding that Riaz would be taken into custody after the ACE completed their inquiry against him.

The authorities have reduced the duration of the course of the inquiry from 15 days to 7 days, and the JIT would complete it, possibly, on February 28, they said.

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 sources said.

On Friday, a local court sent blogger Imran Riaz to jail on judicial remand in a case of acquiring the Tharabi Lake contract at a reduced price.

Earlier, the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) Punjab produced the blogger before Judicial Magistrate Imran Abid in district courts and requested 14-day physical remand for investigations.

However, Riaz’s counsel argued that the case was registered in violation of the law, as no evidence was available to prove the charges.

The court, after hearing detailed arguments of the parties, reserved its judgment on the remand plea for a short while. Later, the court, announcing the reserved verdict, turned down the plea for physical remand and sent the anchorperson to jail on judicial remand.

The ACE Punjab had accused Riaz and his father of acquiring the Tharabi Lake contract at a significantly reduced price.