FIA allowed to investigate complaint against journalist

Published June 3, 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

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday allowed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to investigate a complaint against vlogger and journalist Asad Ali Toor filed by a female television anchorperson Shiffa Yousafazi.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah observed that the court has never stopped FIA from investigation but suspended the notice issued to Toor since it was issued without proper procedure. The observation came during the hearing of the petition filed by Toor seeking suspension of notice issued to him in another case pertaining to ‘defaming’ the institution.

The IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah was hearing two identical petitions of Toor filed against summoning him in two different cases related to his vlogs and social media updates.

The first petition was taken up on May 7 and IHC Chief Justice has suspended the notice issued to Toor by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

Advocate Jawad Hussain Adil, counsel for Ms Yousafzai, informed the court that since the court had suspended the notice, FIA had stopped investigating the matter.

When the court inquired from the FIA about the progress, its assistant director replied that since the court had suspended the notice, the FIA did not proceed in this matter.

Justice Minallah reminded him that the court never stopped the investigating agency from performing lawful tasks or completing investigations.

He remarked that the court had suspended the notice since it was apparently issued without completing the formalities. Moreover, there was no reason mentioned in the notice for which it was served to Toor.

As per the complaint of Ms Yousafazi, Toor has recently uploaded three videos, one after the other, wherein he has made bizarre allegations against the complainant which are based on frivolous grounds, weak assumptions and mala-fide intentions.

It said that the defamatory remarks do not in any way correspond with the existing ground realities and are indeed ill founded and are being propounded with mala fide intention of maligning the complainant’s name and reputation.

She also listed the links to all three videos as well as the transcripts with the complaint.

Justice Minallah advised the FIA to proceed on the complaints filed under the Prevention of Electronic Crime Act (Peca) in accordance with the law.

“The complainant has to establish its case before the investigating agency first, and then the investigating officer may issue notice to the accused,” he said.

However, in certain cases, the complaints were filed by a third person, he added.

Another complaint against the vlogger was based on the complaint of a citizen Fayyaz Mehmood Raja. The complainant pointed out that he was perturbed to see vlogs and tweets of Toor since these were against the national institutions.

The court suspended this notice as well and adjourned the hearing till June 30.

Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2021

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