The Islamabad High Court approved on Wednesday seven-day protective/transit bail for journalist Asad Toor after an FIR was filed against him for “promoting propaganda against Pakistan’s institutions and army.”
Toor, flanked by his lawyers Haider Imtiaz and Umer Gilani, appeared in the court of Chief Justice Athar Minallah.
An FIR was registered against him on September 12 in Jatli, Rawalpindi district. The Islamabad-based journalist now has a week to approach the relevant Rawalpindi court, either sessions court or Lahore High Court-Rawalpindi bench, to seek a pre-arrest bail in the case.
The journalist, who rose to prominence over his reporting on the presidential reference against Supreme Court’s Justice Qazi Faez Isa, had shared a copy of the FIR on his social media account.
Ok #Rawalpindi police charge me under PECA and registered this FIR on 12 September 2020 on the complaint of proxy Hafiz Ehtisham. Here is the copy of the FIR. This is a sad development for me being a journalist because I never wish to be a news myself.#Pakistan @ICJ_Asia @rcfp pic.twitter.com/fBVVwmTmNZ— Asad Ali Toor (@AsadAToor) September 14, 2020
He is accused of spreading propaganda against the country’s institutions and Pakistan Army and using inappropriate words against them on social media.
The FIR has been filed under sections 499 (defamation), 500 (punishment for defamation), 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the Pakistan Penal Code and sections 11 (hate speech), 20 (harming the reputation or privacy of a natural person) and 37 (unlawful on-line content) of the Prevention of Electronic Crime Act, 2016.