Case against Asad Toor: FIA used SC's name to launch action, says CJP Isa

"Neither any Supreme Court judge nor registrar had filed any complaint to FIA," chief justice says

Abdul Qayyum Siddiqui
A screengrab of Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa taken during a live hearing of a case in the Supreme Court. — YouTube/Supreme Court of Pakistan Proceedings/File
A screengrab of Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa taken during a live hearing of a case in the Supreme Court. — YouTube/Supreme Court of Pakistan Proceedings/File
  • CJP questions applicability of charges in FIR against Asad Toor.
  • Laments discrepancies in FIA's notice and case against journalist.
  • Chief justice stresses no SC judge, registrar had complained to FIA.

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa Monday lamented that the Supreme Court's name was used to launch action against vlogger Asad Toor, highlighting the discrepancies in the First Information Report (FIR) registered by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). 

"The inquiry notice [sent to Asad Toor] stated that he is being summoned in an inquiry related to an anti-judiciary campaign whereas the FIR didn't even mention as such," the CJP Isa said.

The top judge's remarks came during a hearing of a suo motu case, being heard by a three-member SC bench comprising the CJP, Justice Muhammed Ali Mazhar and Justice Mussarat Hilali, pertaining to the harassment of journalists over FIA's summons as part of the Joint Investigation Team's (JIT) probe into the anti-judiciary campaign.

It is pertinent to know that on January 17, the then-caretaker government formed a JIT to ascertain the facts behind a malicious social media campaign against the SC judges after the apex court gave a verdict on the election symbol of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

The court, however, had then taken notice of the FIA's summons, sent to various journalists, and barred the agency from taking action against people over their criticism directed towards the apex court.

The FIA, however, arrested Toor in connection to the smear campaign against the SC and the CJP on February 26 and the journalist is currently in the agency's custody.

Today's hearing

During the hearing today, Barrister Salahuddin Ahmed — who's representing the Press Association of the Supreme Court (PAS) and the Islamabad High Court Journalists Association (IHCJA) — apprised the court that Toor is currently in jail.

"Why is he in jail?" the CJP questioned.

To this, the lawyer cited an FIR registered against the journalist and further urged the court to declare the government's notification regarding the constitution of the JIT as "null and void".

The chief justice then questioned the applicability and relevancy of the charges included in the FIR registered against Toor, including those pertaining to the "sensitive information".

Highlighting the discrepancies in the FIA's notice and the FIR against Toor, CJP Isa said: "Neither any SC judge nor the registrar had filed any complaint to the FIA".

"The officials of FIA are bringing disrepute to the judiciary," the chief justice observed while lamenting the prospects of the judiciary's image being tarnished before the public.

"Why shouldn't we send a notice to the FIA for contempt of court?" he questioned.

Additionally, the top judge also censured Inspector General Police (IGP) Islamabad for his failure to report any progress and apprehend culprits.

"[You] weren't able to trace the accused despite the [video] evidence? It's been four years, how much time do you need?

"The whole country is looking at your performance [...] Your behaviour indicates that you are in fact a facilitator," the CJP said while hinting at the top cop's dismissal as the police chief.