FIA summons journalist Asad Toor in inquiry about 'defamation of govt institution'

Published May 31, 2021
This photo shows journalist and YouTuber Asad Ali Toor. — Photo courtesy: Facebook/File
This photo shows journalist and YouTuber Asad Ali Toor. — Photo courtesy: Facebook/File

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Monday issued a summons to journalist and YouTuber Asad Ali Toor to appear before it and record his statement in an inquiry regarding "defamation" of a government institution through social media.

A notice titled 'Order for attendance under Section 160 CrPC for recording of statement', a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, was sent to Toor's Islamabad residence by the FIA Cyber Crime Reporting Centre in Rawalpindi.

It said FIA Cyber Crime Rawalpindi was conducting an inquiry regarding "defamation of institution of Government of Pakistan through social media" on the complaint of one Fayyaz Mehmood Raja. The notice dated May 31 did not specify which institution the inquiry concerned.

"The available facts suggest that you are well aware of the facts/circumstances of said inquiry," it read.

"Therefore, you are directed to appear before the undersign[ed]" at FIA police station, Cyber Crime Reporting Centre, Rawalpindi on June 4, 2021, at 11am "to answer such question[s] as put forth to you", it added.

The notice said criminal proceedings could be initiated against the journalist in case of non-compliance.

In his complaint, seen by Dawn.com, Raja said he had watched a video on May 27 uploaded by Toor on social media "in which allegations have been levelled against our respected institutions".

Raja said he then went through Toor's Twitter and Youtube channels and was very surprised to notice that "this man is levelling allegations against our institutions through a particular agenda and conspiracy."

The complainant asked the FIA to take legal action against the journalist.

This is not the first case or investigation against Toor.

The journalist was accused of defaming the military last year and also faced a court case in this regard. According to the FIR, Toor had allegedly indulged in propaganda against Pakistan and its institutions on social media for a long time.

However, the Lahore High Court absolved him of the charges after the FIA prosecutor told the court that no evidence was found to support the charges.

Last week, Toor was severely beaten up by unidentified assailants outside his residence in Islamabad's Sector F-10 on May 25.

According to police, some people gathered outside the journalist's residence located in an apartment building. A scuffle took place between him and these people who fled the scene after thrashing him.

Narrating some of the details of the incident, Toor said in a video message that the attackers had asked him about the source of his funds.

Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain had taken notice of the incident and ordered the Islamabad police chief to probe the matter.

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