FIA Arrests Journalist Asad Toor

The journalist had gone to the offices of FIA to cooperate in an ongoing enquiry after obtaining an order from Islamabad High Court directing FIA not to harass him

FIA Arrests Journalist Asad Toor

Journalist and YouTuber Asad Toor was arrested by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Monday, his lawyer confirmed. 

Toor was arrested when he visited the offices of the FIA in Islamabad on Monday to volunteer in an enquiry into concerted campaigns being orchestrated against judges on the media and social media.

Toor's lawyer, Imaan Mazari, on social media site 'X', formerly known as Twitter, said that on Monday, Toor had obtained an order from the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that restrained the FIA from harassing journalists. 

Then, to show good faith, Toor went to the FIA office in Sector G-13 of the federal capital to participate in the enquiry.

Mazari, however, said that as Toor went in, his lawyers were denied entry while the doors of the offices were locked from the inside.

Later, she said Toor had been arrested. 

He had entered the offices of the FIA cyber crime wing at around 4:45pm. However, his lawyers had no information about what happened to him outside as they were denied access. At around 9:05pm-9:07pm, after all lights in the FIA office had been turned off, an official came out to inform the waiting lawyers that he had been formally arrested.

Barrister Ahsan Pirzada who was also representing Toor, said they were not informed what had Toor been arrested for nor was there any clear reason to arrest him.

Moreover, he said that they were handed a chit carrying a message from Toor:
"Please drop my 78-year-old mother at one of my relatives because she and Toor live alone."

Barrister Pirzada said that Toor's arrest was a message for other journalists.

It is pertinent to note that last month, a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) was formed to probe concerted smear campaigns launched against the top court and sitting judges on the media and social media. 

The FIA had launched over 115 inquiries, sent over 65 notices to at least 46 individuals — including journalists such as Toor — and registered an FIR.

Prominent in the list were journalists Shaheen Sehbai, Sabir Shakir, Matiullah Jan, Cyril Almeida, Saqib Bashir, Riazul Haq, Syed Haider Raza Mehdi, Asad Ali Toor, Arif Hameed Bhatti, Siddique Jan and others.

Matiullah Jan and Saqib Bashir are journalists dedicated to covering the courts in Islamabad as their beats. 

Television anchors who were sent notices included Paras Jahanzeb (who was named twice in the list), Iqrarul Hassan, Orya Maqbool Jan, and Imran Riaz Khan.

Individuals such as Sara Taseer and former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf focal person on social media, Azhar Mashwani, were also issued summons. Lawyer Muhammad Jibran Nasir was also summoned.

However, later, Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa took notice of journalists being issued summons by the JIT. The authorities were later told not to harass journalists.