Home Latest News Asad Toor Remanded in FIA Custody for Five Days

Asad Toor Remanded in FIA Custody for Five Days

Journalist detained on Monday night in a case pertaining to an alleged online campaign against the judiciary

by Staff Report

Journalist Asad Ali Toor. YouTube

An Islamabad district and sessions court on Tuesday granted five-day remand of journalist Asad Ali Toor to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) over an alleged campaign against the judiciary on social media.

Last month, the interim government formed a five-member joint investigation team (JIT) to “ascertain facts behind a malicious social media campaign” against the judiciary after a three-member bench ruled in favor of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to withdraw the PTI’s electoral symbol. In total, the FIA had summoned 47 journalists for their alleged role in the campaign, including Toor.

Last week, FIA officials interrogated Toor for roughly eight hours in the case. Earlier, appearing in the Supreme Court, the attorney general for Pakistan had assured the apex court no action would be taken until after the general elections. The case is to be taken up by the court again in the first week of March.

In a posting on X on Monday night, Toor’s counsel Imaan Zainab Mazari-Hazir confirmed he had been placed under arrest after being interrogated at the FIA’s Cyber Crime Reporting Center in Islamabad. She said he was taken inside the FIA premises without his legal team, alleging that they were informed of his arrest through a handwritten note delivered to them by a FIA official.

During today’s hearing in the court of Judicial Magistrate Mohammad Shabbir, the FIA sought access to either the journalist’s phone or his physical remand. To Toor’s refusal to provide his phone to protect his sources, the court accepted the request and remanded the journalist in FIA’s custody for five days.

All journalist bodies and rights activists have condemned the arrest. Various journalists have announced they would stage a protest against the detention outside the Islamabad Press Club today (Tuesday), while the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) issued a statement expressing serious concern over the news.

“He should be released immediately and any curbs on freedom of expression removed promptly,” it said. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), meanwhile, issued a statement calling on authorities to “immediately and unconditionally release Toor, and to cease harassing him for his journalistic work.”

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