Close to identifying one suspect involved in attack on Asad Toor: Rashid

Says important to arrest those involved in attack to silence those pointing fingers at intelligence agencies

News Desk June 01, 2021


Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid said on Tuesday that authorities were close to identifying one of the suspects involved in the assault on journalist Asad Ali Toor.

"Nadra [National Databse and Registration Authority], FIA [Federal Investigation Agency], and police are investigating the case," Rashid said while addressing a presser in Islamabad this afternoon.

The minister added that, "The government is about to have an advertisement issued [for the arrests of the culprits] while the report of finger prints will be received by tomorrow [Wednesday]."

He stressed that it was important to arrest those involved in the attack since the incident was being used to level allegations against intelligence agencies to serve certain designs.

Condemning the allegations, Rashid stated, "Nabbing those accused will silence everyone [criticising the agencies].

The minister observed that some people point fingers at state institutions unjustifiably. "[Such] baseless allegations on institutions are damaging Pakistan's image," he added.

He went on to add that "people are leveling allegations on [intelligence] agencies to make their masters happy. They don't know how much that damages Pakistan."

Last week, on May 29, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in a high-level contact with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting completely disassociated itself from the recent incident in which digital media journalist Asad Ali Toor was allegedly tortured at his Islamabad apartment.

Read AGP Khalid Jawed expresses concern over attack on journalist Asad Ali Toor

According to a press release by the Ministry of Information, the allegations against the ISI were part of the “fifth generation warfare under a well thought-out conspiracy”.

The ISI believed that the investigations should go ahead as the faces of the accused can be seen clearly in CCTV footage and stern action should be taken against the culprits involved in the incident, read the statement.

“The ISI assured full cooperation with the investigating agencies in this regard. The Ministry of Information was in close touch with the Islamabad Police and hoped that the accused would be apprehended soon,” it added.

The practice of levelling accusations against the institutions sans any supporting evidence should end now as such negative tendencies were part of a conspiracy against the country's institutions. They [ISI] expressed firm belief that the real culprits would be exposed soon, the communiqué said.

Toor was attacked in Islamabad on May 25 as unidentified assailants broke into his house and physically assaulted him.

PDM’s protest call

In response to a question about the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) fresh call for protest against the government, Rashid said, “The PDM is over. It’s just a media show now [by the opposition leaders].

The minister observed that, “Two parties have left the alliance, only two remain now.” He recalled that people used to make fun of him when he predicted the departure of “sheen” from “noon”, while referring to PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

Kuwait visas

The interior minister announced that Kuwait has lifted the ban on issuing visas to Pakistanis. “The restriction was in place since 2011, but now family and business visas will be issued.”

He added that the development took place after he paid a visit to the country - first since 2011 - on the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan.