Pakistani vlogger Asad Toor on hunger strike since his arrest as vendetta by Pak establishment

paki journalist arrested
Asad Ali Toor in FIA custody (Photo: X)

Pakistani vlogger Asad Ali Toor, currently in the custody of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in connection with an inquiry into an alleged anti-judiciary campaign, has been on a hunger strike for the past 36 hours, according to his lawyer Hadi Ali Chattha. Toor was arrested on unspecified charges related to an online campaign against the judiciary.

Toor’s counsel, Hadi Ali Chattha, updated the media on Thursday about his client’s deteriorating health and revealed that Toor has not consumed any food in the last 36 hours. Toor’s mother was allowed to visit him on court orders at the FIA office, where he is being held.

“The FIA also called rescue personnel after Toor fell sick last night,” said Chattha.

Hadi Ali Chattha stated that during Toor’s custody, the FIA did not interrogate him regarding the alleged anti-judiciary campaign. Instead, Toor is repeatedly being questioned about vlogs he created concerning various individuals, including generals and other members of the military establishment which hints towards his arrest as an action out of vandetta.

Iman Mazari, another lawyer representing Toor, emphasized that the investigation so far does not pertain to contempt of judges. According to Mazari, Toor is under pressure to disclose his journalistic sources and social media credentials, but he is refusing to divulge this information.

Asad Toor in 5 day physical remand

Notably, Judicial Magistrate Islamabad Muhammad Shabbir, on February 27, granted a five-day physical remand for Toor and directed the FIA to produce him again on March 3, 2024. During the hearing, Toor, identifying himself as a journalist, declined to surrender his mobile phone. He asserted that he had received the notice on February 24 and had appeared before the FIA twice.

Toor stated that they had filed a petition with the high court against the call-up notice. On February 26, he and his legal team visited the FIA office with the high court’s order to inquire about the FIR and the allegations against him.

The FIR against Toor alleges that he conducted a malicious campaign against the judiciary on social media platforms and YouTube, fueling anti-state activities. He has been booked under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016.

Apparently, Toor’s case is emblematic of broader concerns regarding the treatment of media personnel and activists who voice dissent against the Pakistani establishment. Many have been subjected to mistreatment and implicated in what appear to be false cases. As the case unfolds, questions about freedom of expression and press freedom in the country continue to be raised.

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