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Crackdown on social media draws ire from all quarters

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Crackdown on social media draws ire from all quarters
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On Saturday, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested 5 social media activists and brought them in for questioning. The 5 individuals were linked with social media accounts which had been criticizing the government and the Armed forces. Interestingly, it was the counter-terrorism wing rather than the cyber-crime wing which had conducted this operation.

FIA has identified several individuals that it alleges are involved in an “organized” campaign against the country’s armed forces on social media.

“We have identified dozens of suspects involved in running an organized campaign on social media against the Pakistan Army. We have taken some of them into custody for interrogation,”

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has pledged to fight against what they call the misuse of the cybercrime bill and suppression of free speech on an institutional scale. They have even promised to support activists from the ruling party who have been arrested in this roundup.

Chaudhry Nisar’s directive

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan initiated this crackdown a week ago after he took notice of online criticism of the armed forces following the May 10 announcement by the Inter-Services Public Relations, the military’s media affairs wing, of the withdrawal of a tweet that “rejected” the government notification of the findings of a body, set up to investigate the Dawn Leaks scandal.

Read More: PTI protests Govt.’s crackdown on social media activists

“We have identified dozens of suspects involved in running an organized campaign on social media against the Pakistan Army. We have taken some of them into custody for interrogation,” an FIA official said on Sunday.

The official said the government had ordered FIA’s Counterterrorism Department (CTD) to help trace the “real culprits” of this campaign. “The CTD is also helping us trace those running an anti-military campaign on social media,” he said.

“We have taken some suspects into custody, but at this stage, we cannot disclose their identities. No FIR has been registered against anyone detained in the crackdown so far,” the official said.

He clarified that individuals would be charged only after a detailed forensic analysis of their social media accounts because it had become common for users to employ fake identities and post in other people’s name.

On Sunday PTI vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi met the detained activists belonging to his party, as well as the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and assured them of his party’s full support.

The official clarified that FIA was “not targeting those posting comments or images unintentionally or without any vested interest”.


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only government officials are allowed to criticize armed forces, not the general public :)
 

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