Home Latest News CJP Slams FIA for ‘Using’ SC as Pretext to Arrest Asad Toor

CJP Slams FIA for ‘Using’ SC as Pretext to Arrest Asad Toor

During hearing, top judge questions applicability of charges in FIR registered against Toor

by Staff Report

Farooq Naeem—AFP

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa on Monday lashed out at the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for using an anti-judiciary campaign targeting the Supreme Court to probe and arrest vlogger Asad Toor, despite the First Information Report (FIR) not including any references to the same.

“The inquiry notice [to Toor] stated that he is being summoned in an inquiry related to an anti-judiciary campaign whereas the FIR didn’t even mention it,” he remarked while hearing a suo motu case—alongside Justices Muhammed Ali Mazhar and Mussarat Hilali—pertaining to the harassment of journalists by the FIA.

During today’s hearing, Barrister Salahuddin Ahmed—representing the Press Association of the Supreme Court and the Islamabad High Court Journalists Association—informed the court that Toor was currently in jail. “Why is he in jail?” the CJP questioned.

To this, the lawyer referred to a FIR registered against the journalist and urged the court to declare the government’s notification regarding the constitution of a joint investigation team to probe the social media campaign against the judiciary as “null and void.”

The CJP then questioned the applicability and relevancy of the charges cited in the FIR registered against Toor, including those pertaining to “sensitive information.” He noted the discrepancies in the FIA’s notice and the FIR against Toor. “Neither any SC judge nor the registrar had filed any complaint to the FIA,” he observed. “The officials of FIA are bringing disrepute to the judiciary,” he remarked, lamenting that the judiciary’s image was being tarnished before the public. “Why shouldn’t we send a notice to the FIA for contempt of court?” he questioned.

Justice Isa also censured the Islamabad inspector general of police for failing to report any progress and apprehend culprits involved in the abductions and harassment of journalists. “[You] weren’t able to trace the accused despite the evidence? Its been four years, how much time do you need?” he questioned. “The whole country is looking at your performance … Your behavior indicates that you are in fact a facilitator,” he said, questioning why the police chief should not be sacked.

In January, the caretaker government formed a JIT to ascertain the facts behind a malicious social media campaign targeting Supreme Court judges after they backed an Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) ruling withdrawing the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s electoral symbol.

At the time, the apex court had barred the FIA from taking any action against journalists until after elections. On Feb. 26, the agency arrested Toor in connection with the smear campaign against the SC, with his lawyers claiming he is being questioned about his coverage of the establishment rather than the social media campaign.

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