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Imran accuses govt of harassing social media activists

Updated May 18, 2017 07:33am


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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan on Wednesday accused the federal government of abusing the cybercrime law to victimise his party’s social media activists.

Also read: Imran warns govt against using cybercrime law to target PTI

“Govt abusing cybercrime law to politically victimise PTI social media activists by threatening/arresting them. Unacceptable in a democracy,” Mr Khan posted on Twitter following the arrest of Salar Kakar, a PTI social media activist from Balochistan.

According to posts on Mr Kakar’s Twitter page, he was summoned by police on Tuesday. “Told to submit mobile & laptop to [Federal Investigation Agency],” he had tweeted.

A former president of the PTI’s Balochistan chapter, Qasim Suri, accompanied Mr Kakar to the police station. He told Dawn that police had told Mr Kakar the FIA had been asking about him.

He said that he had taken him to the FIA office along with his mobile phone and laptop, adding that Mr Kakar was asked to disclose the passwords of all his social media accounts.

Party claims PTI activist from Balochistan ‘in FIA custody’

Mr Suri said an FIA deputy director had received instructions from Islamabad to bring Mr Kakar to the capital. He said while the nature of the allegation levelled against him was not disclosed, the social media activist was not allowed to return home to fetch any belongings and was brought to Islamabad by road.

Mr Suri confirmed that Mr Kakar had received a notice from the FIA’s counterterrorism wing, seeking his appearance before the agency. “Non-compliance to this order is punishable under law. Therefore your wilful non-obedience of the order will render you liable for criminal proceedings under section 174 of the Pakistan Penal Code,” read the notice, a copy of which is available with Dawn.

The notice was issued with the signature of Nauman Ashraf Bodla, a deputy director who had been transferred from the cybercrime wing. According to the notice, Mr Kakar is required to appear before the FIA’s counterterrorism wing today (Thursday) at 11am.

The PTI has also decided to forcefully raise the issue in parliament.

On Wednesday, PTI lawmakers submitted a calling-attention notice seeking to discuss “the issue of harassment of social media activists” and the alleged signing of secret agreements with social media sites to block accounts of users who are critical of government policies.

The notice was submitted by MNAs Asad Umar, retired Col Amirullah Marwat, Nafeesa Inayatullah Khattak, Aquibullah and Dr Shireen Mazari.

Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2017


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Comments (15) Closed

Imran j. May 18, 2017 07:54am

What's funny that none of these so called liberals would stand by Imran Khan even when he fights for the core values of liberalism. I guess we're all hypocrite one way or another.

M Jamal May 18, 2017 08:11am

No one can reverse the benefits of new era of social media.The reality will pop up sooner than later.Government must facilitate to open up our society.Promoting rational thinking and aporoach will benefit Pakistan.

Zahid Haroon May 18, 2017 08:31am

No one can suppress voice of patriotic Pakistanis.

Javed May 18, 2017 08:55am

A good move, criticism is one thing, which is tolerable in a democracy , PTI social media team hurls abuses instead of healthy criticism. Disfigured politicians, bad language & false allegations have become PTI's favorite job. This step was long overdue

Bitter Truth May 18, 2017 09:31am

IK want that his party members should be allowed to use foul language against anybody, and further they should not be scolded for that.

shabbir ahmed May 18, 2017 10:07am

This should have been done much earlier. Mr Khan's activists know only how to post half truths, outright falsehood, and abusive language against his political opponents. They have started of late to ridicule apolitical State institutions as well. God knows, if at all the Khan wins the election, which is highly improbable, how would he lead a government and conduct affairs of the State with such shallow, juvenile and outright rowdies in his party. Tragedy is that instead of trying to train his followers for handling serious matters, the Khan encourages them in the art of abuse and slander.

Ismail May 18, 2017 10:20am

All black sheeps are on same page, alas no more hope.

The end is near May 18, 2017 10:29am

PMLN's old tactic. They harass, suppress and abuse you IF they can not buy you.

Asif A Shah May 18, 2017 10:32am

The people of Pakistan have a right to free speech. The Constitution of Pakistan does not contemplate the detention of the ordinary people without the due process of the law. In addition, any detained person must be brought before the Court of Law as early as possible. However, I am glad that PTI is going to raise this issue in the Parliament.

KMAN May 18, 2017 10:44am

You Mr Khan, supported this draconian bill in the parliament. Now chicken are coming home to roost.

Irfan_Sydney May 18, 2017 10:50am

"Imran accuses govt of harassing social media activists" Oh! My God! Is he not aware that it is actually PTI supporters who harass everyone who disagrees with Imran Khan or PTI. Imran Khan thinks , offence is the best defence. Everyone knows PTI supporters on social media are masters in Cyberbullying.

IAB May 18, 2017 11:42am

PTI has no existence in Baluchistan ............... Reviving it through social media won't work there ...actual physical presence will !!!

Alba May 18, 2017 12:08pm

Imran Khan is spinning his wheels. He needs to commit to more substantial issues.

Amin U Ansari May 18, 2017 12:52pm

@Imran j. Agree with you. Have seen that happen too many time.

Azhar Ali May 18, 2017 02:53pm

Everyone should condemn this Act which our government is doing via our esteemed agencies. We believed that we are living in a democratic country and everyone has right to express their views except which against the constitution of Pakistan. If Mr. Kakar was opposing government policies which maybe not suitable for all citizens of Pakistan, it doesn't mean that government starts threatening to an innocent citizen. If government things that he has no right to speak then I would say to the government that please remove the Article 19 Freedom of speech from Constitution of Pakistan.

I also would like to say to the government that what about page on facebook named "We Love Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and PML(N)" I found this page which is the most unethical page created on facebook, the purpose of creating this page is to make fun on Imran Khan and other political parties leader, why don't our government taking action against this page because the admin of this page is PMLN lover. :)