Court approves vlogger Asad Toor's post-arrest bail plea

Asad Toor was detained by FIA on charges of stoking social media campaign against judiciary

Arfa Feroz Zake
Vlogger Asad Toor speaks during his YouTube show, uploaded on February 24, 2024, in this still taken from a video. — YouTube/@asadtooruncensored9072
Vlogger Asad Toor speaks during his YouTube show, uploaded on February 24, 2024, in this still taken from a video. — YouTube/@asadtooruncensored9072

  • Asad Toor was detained by FIA over anti-judiciary campaign. 
  • Trial court grants bail against surety bond of Rs5,000.
  • He was booked under Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016.

ISLAMABAD: A trial court on Saturday granted bail to vlogger Asad Toor in a case related to malicious campaign against Supreme Court judges.

Special Judge Central Humayun Dilawar heard Toor's plea seeking post-arrest bail after he was detained by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) over charges of stoking a social media drive against the judiciary and other institutions.

The court granted Toor's bail against surety bonds of Rs5,000. FIA Special Prosecutor Syed Ashfaq Hussain Shah did not oppose the petitioner's bail plea.

Hours after the court order, the journalist has been released from Adiala Jail who secured bail today.

In January, the caretaker government had constituted a six-member high-powered joint investigation team (JIT) to inquire into the malicious campaign launched against judges of the top court after the CJP Isa-led bench announced the verdict on the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) intra-party polls.

On February 23, Toor was detained by the FIA for eight hours after he appeared before the JIT in connection with the investigation despite not being served notice per the due process, his lawyer, Imaan Mazari said. 

The YouTuber was subsequently arrested on February 26 in connection with the case and was sent on a five-day physical the next day. On March 6, the same lower court extended Toor’s physical remand for two days.

Later on March 8, the vlogger was sent to jail on a 14-day judicial remand.

According to the first information report (FIR) against Toor, the vlogger allegedly ran a malicious campaign against the judiciary on social media platform X and YouTube. 

It added that he had fueled anti-state activities through social media and he has been booked under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) 2016.

FIR suggests action against Toor taken at judiciary's behest: CJP

CJP Isa, on March 11, expressed dismay over the disparities in the FIA's FIR resulting in the impression suggesting that the action against Toor was taken at the judiciary's behest.

During the hearing pertaining to the harassment of journalists over FIA's summons as part of the JIT's probe into the anti-judiciary campaign, the CJP highlighted that the FIA's summon sent to Toor was regarding an anti-judiciary campaign.

He noted that the FIR registered against the journalist failed to even mention any smear campaign against the country's judiciary.

Notices against Asad Toor against law: IHC

On the other hand, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) declared notices issued by the FIA as against the law. 

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq issued a seven-page written order. 

The court issued a written decision on the petition filed by Toor against the FIA notices. 

"The notices were issued against the law and then an FIR was lodged," said the IHC in its decision. 

The court said that it does not have the power to take suo-motu notice, hence, it cannot order Asad Toor's release. 

It added that the court was wrapping up the petition with observations as only the notices were challenged.