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Pakistani Journalist Asad Toor Remanded in FIA Custody

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A district and sessions court in Islamabad has sent journalist Asad Toor to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) remand for three days in a case about his alleged involvement in a vile social media drive against Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa. The FIA had requested a nine-day remand, but the court granted three days.

Toor, a vlogger and journalist, has been accused of running a malicious campaign against the judiciary on social media platforms X and YouTube. He has been booked under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016.

During arguments before the court, Toor said he would neither surrender his mobile phone nor reveal his sources as sources are the most important thing for a journalist. He also mentioned that he had been on a hunger strike since his detention by the FIA on February 27.The FIA has been investigating Toor since January when they summoned dozens of journalists, including Toor, relating to an alleged campaign against judges of the Supreme Court.

In recent months, several of Toor’s social media posts and videos have been critical of government agencies, Pakistan’s military establishment, and even the Supreme Court. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an independent media watchdog, has condemned Toor’s arrest and demanded his immediate release. The CPJ official stated that Pakistani authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Toor and ensure that journalists do not face retaliation, including from the judiciary.

The FIA’s action against Toor has come at a time when global rights bodies have highlighted the deteriorating state of media freedoms in Pakistan, with many journalists being abducted or arrested, while media coverage critical of state institutions has been muzzled, and social media platforms restricted.

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