Home Latest Asad Ali Toor, Pakistani Journalist, Arrested Following Summons for Questioning

Asad Ali Toor, Pakistani Journalist, Arrested Following Summons for Questioning

Asad Ali Toor, Pakistani Journalist, Arrested Following Summons for Questioning

Asad Ali Toor, an independent journalist operating the popular YouTube channel “Asad Toor Uncensored,” was apprehended by Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Monday, subsequent to being summoned for interrogation. This move by authorities comes in connection with allegations of orchestrating an alleged “explicit and malicious” campaign against Supreme Court judges, as reported by news outlets and confirmed by Toor’s legal representative, Imaan Mazari-Hazir, who spoke to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Toor’s YouTube channel, known for its political coverage, boasts over 160,000 subscribers.

The CPJ has urgently called for Toor’s immediate and unconditional release, condemning what they perceive as harassment against him for his journalistic endeavors. Toor was apprehended at the FIA’s cybercrime wing headquarters in the capital city, Islamabad.

According to Mazari-Hazir, the FIA declined to allow Toor’s legal team, including Mazari-Hazir and two other lawyers, to accompany him during questioning. Following Toor’s arrest, the agency purportedly barricaded its entrance and switched off the building lights. Subsequently, an FIA official emerged from the premises to inform Toor’s legal representatives of his detention.

Amidst this situation, a handwritten note from Toor, retrieved by CPJ, requested assistance for relocating his 78-year-old mother to a relative’s residence.

As of Tuesday morning, Toor’s legal advisors had not received a copy of the initial information report detailing the investigation against the journalist.

Last Friday, Toor was reportedly detained and interrogated at the FIA cybercrime wing headquarters without access to legal counsel. He was released approximately eight hours later, only to receive a summons for Monday’s interrogation shortly after.

On Monday, Toor lodged a petition with the Islamabad High Court challenging the legality of the FIA’s notices regarding both summonses for questioning. In response, the Chief Justice ordered Toor to participate in the inquiry proceedings but emphasized that he should not face harassment.

Expressing dismay over Toor’s arrest allegedly in defiance of the Islamabad High Court’s order, CPJ Program Director Carlos Martinez de la Serna urged Pakistani authorities to release Toor immediately and unconditionally, emphasizing the importance of safeguarding journalists’ rights to critical reporting.

Mazari-Hazir informed CPJ that Toor’s legal team intends to file a petition on Tuesday morning contesting his arrest at the Islamabad High Court.

Toor revealed that he learned about the February 23 interrogation summons through social media, as the notice had been sent to a previous address.

During the February 23 questioning, Toor recounted the presence of six unidentified individuals in plain clothes, refusing to disclose their affiliation when prompted by Toor. They failed to provide a list of allegations or any complaints against the journalist. Instead, they questioned Toor about his criticisms of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, his sources of information, and the origins of his journalistic content. Toor claimed that he was threatened with home raids, detention, and device confiscation if he did not comply.

The FIA’s cybercrime wing had previously summoned Toor and several other journalists in January over allegations related to the aforementioned campaign against Supreme Court judges, following a decision by the electoral commission to bar former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party from using its cricket bat symbol in the February 8 election.

Toor has gained attention for his critical reporting on Pakistan’s Chief Justice and military establishment on platforms like YouTube and X, formerly known as Twitter.

In a harrowing incident in May 2021, Toor was attacked by three unidentified assailants in his Islamabad apartment, one of whom claimed affiliation with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency. Toor recounted this event in a BBC documentary released on February 16, 2024.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here