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Political activist held for ‘riling’ Pak Army on social media

Lahore: A political activist of Imran Khan’s party has been arrested for allegedly maligning Pakistani’s powerful Army on social media over its reported rift with the government, in the first case registered under the country’s controversial cyber crime law.
The Federal Investigation Agency yesterday arrested Pakistan Tahreek-i-Insaf activist Adnan Afzal in Lahore for using abusive language about the Army and some ruling PML-N ministers.

The suspect lamented the Army personnel after the Inter- Services Public Relations, the military’s media wing, on May 10 withdrew its tweet that “rejected” the Nawaz Sharif government notification of the findings of a committee set up to investigate a story in Dawn newspaper in October last year on the national security issue.

Opposition parties have alleged that the Sharif government advocated India’s narrative in the story by leaking the contents of the national security meeting in October.

The meeting was presided over by Prime Minister Sharif.

In the meeting, Sharif had asked the Army to take action against JuD, led 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed, and other groups such as the JeM and the Haqqani network, or face international isolation.

The government had removed Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid, National Security Adviser Tariq Fatemi and Press Information Officer Rao Tahseen on the recommendation of the inquiry committee set up to determine who was responsible for leaking the meeting’s information to Dawn.

“The suspect used abusive language about the Army command after the ISPR’s withdrawal of its tweet in connection with the story,” an FIA official said.

“We have booked him under different sections of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act and the Pakistan Penal Code whose accumulative punishment is 13 years,” FIA Lahore cyber-crime wing head Shahid Hasan told PTI.

He said the suspect was running a Facebook page against military personnel and he also had made a series of such tweets.

The official said the FIA has identified more suspects and will take them into custody soon.

Earlier, the FIA had taken over 20 suspects into custody in connection with an anti-militry campaign on social media, but had to release them after charges against them were not established.

“Teams from the FIA’s cybercrime wing have been working for two weeks on the Facebook accounts of suspects, WhatsApp groups, blogs and websites where such a material is being uploaded,” the official said.

The opposition parties have vowed to resist efforts to place curbs on social media.
Imran Khan’s party has said it will move the court against “illegal actions” taken by government agencies against political workers and social media activists.

PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhry said the government is not interested in taking action against 60 banned organisations that were “furthering nefarious agendas” on the social media.

PTI