The Islamabad High Court (IHC) granted on Wednesday one-week protective bail to journalist Asad Ali Toor after he was booked on charges of spreading 'negative propaganda' against the state and its institutions, including the Pakistan Army through his social media posts.
Chief Justice Athar Minallah granted the bail and ordered the journalist to approach the relevant court within a week.
The complaint, registered by a resident of Rawalpindi named Ehtisham Ahmed, states that, "[Toor] spread negative propaganda and used derogatory language against the government institutions, including the Pakistan Army, which was a grave crime according to the law."
Toor has been booked under sections 505 (statements conducing to public mischief), 500 (punishment for defamation) and 499 (defamation) and of the Pakistan Penal Code and sections 37 (unlawful online content), 11 (hate speech) and 20 (offences against dignity of a person) of the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act 2016.
This was the third case of a journalist being booked for “spreading hatred” against the state and its institutions in ess than a week.
On September 11, Express Tribune staffer Bilal Farooqi and former chairman of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority were booked in similar cases. The latter has been booked for charges of sedition.