LAHORE: A sessions court of Faisalabad has handed down a maximum jail term of three years among other sentences to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf supporter Sikandar Zaman in a case of launching a smear campaign against the armed forces on social media.

Additional District and Sessions Judge Munsif Khan announced the verdict on Feb 8.

The FIA cyber crime wing in Faisalabad had registered a case against Zaman under sections of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (Peca) on Aug 21, 2022, when he posted objectionable material against the army after the Lasbela (Balochistan) army helicopter crash.

The judge sentenced Zaman three years in jail under Section 505 of the PPC and one year each under Section 500 of the PPC, Sections 20 and 24(c) of Peca. All the sentences will run concurrently. The judge also imposed a collective fine of Rs260,000 on the convict.

Zaman, 30, was apprehended last year by the FIA following a complaint lodged against him on behalf of the state. However, he was later released on bail. His account had just 184 followers, according to the Pak Lawyers Forum.

The judge held that the prosecution had fully established its case in the light of the modern devices and the accused had been found guilty of the offences mentioned in the FIR.

The judge noted that the accused did not deny that the said Twitter account belonged to him. He observed that the accused had tried to create a dispute about the senior leadership of the armed forces, which naturally had an effect on the subordinate officials and the general public.

Reacting to the conviction, PTI’s social media focal person Azhar Mashwani said the party’s Insaf Lawyers Forum was trying to reach out to Zaman’s family. He said an appeal would be filed against the conviction.

Published in Dawn, February 17th, 2023

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