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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has taken notice of the directives circulated by the interior ministry against five organisations which are said to be involved in running a social media campaign against the visit of a VVIP and his delegation to Pakistan.

In their tweets on Satur­day, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhary and Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi said that the prime minister had taken notice of the directive issued by the interior ministry on Friday.

Mr Afridi said: “As per the directives of Imran Khan, we are probing the matter of the following notification which is against the inclusive policy of our government.”

The interior ministry had sent a communication to all provincial chief secretaries, inspectors general of police, chairman of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and director general of the Federal Investigation Agency, directing them to track and sensitise the organisations to refrain from negative propaganda against the visiting delegation.

The organisations identified are: Tameer-i-Watan, Imamia Students Organisation Talibaat, Karachi, Imamia Students Organisation, Peshawar, Tehreek-i-Hamayat Mazlumeen-i-Jahan Pakistan and Shia Wahdat News.

Mr Afridi said that Pakistan belonged to everyone and everyone had right to raise their voice. “No one has the right to challenge any one’s faith in Naya Pak,” he said.

The information minister was cautious in his tweet as he said that the communication “purportedly issued by ministry of interior” referred to certain sects. “Secretary interior has been directed to launch an inquiry to this effect immediately,” Fawad Chaudhary said.

The communication stirred a storm on social media on Friday when it was also revealed that so far 19 Facebook pages and 20 Twitter URLs had been processed for blocking. The communication asks the authorities concerned to immediately block the processed accounts.

“Reportedly, to project a negative perception about the forthcoming high-profile visit of VVIP delegation to Pakistan, a targeted campaign is currently under way on social media maligning the VVIP delegation/ Pakistan Government for certain vested and nefarious interests/agenda,” the communication reads.

The PTA and the cybercrime wing of the FIA were directed to track the activists which were involved in the campaign and get their accounts blocked.

Published in Dawn, February 17th, 2019