• FIA summons Gohar, Ayub and Raoof on June 5 for ‘misuse’ of Imran’s X account
• Alvi says civilian govts have always bailed out military, intelligence agencies

ISLAMABAD / KARACHI: A day after PTI leader Imran Khan refused to join a probe into a controversial post in which he had shed light on the Hamoodur Rahman Commission report about the fall of Dhaka in 1971, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) summoned PTI top brass for the “misuse” of the former prime minister’s ‘X’ account.

In notices issued to PTI leaders Barrister Gohar Ali Khan, Omar Ayub, and Raoof Hasan, the FIA said an inquiry had been initiated regarding the “misuse” of Mr Khan’s verified ‘X’ (formerly Twitter) account through which “highly obnoxious and inciting content against state institutions” was shared.

It claimed that the post was “likely to cause fear or alarm in the public and may induce/provoke anyone to commit an offence against the state or state institution or public tranquillity”.

The notices said the PTI trio was directed to appear in person before FIA Sub-Inspector Muhammad Monib Zafar to record their statements at the FIA Cyber Crime Reporting Centre on Wednesday “in the interest of justice”.

“In case of non-appearance, proceedings u/s 174 PPC will be initiated against you,” the notice said, referring to the Pakistan Penal Code Section 174 (non-attendance in obedience to an order from public servant).

On May 26, Mr Khan’s official account shared a video along with a quote attributed to him: “Every Pakistani should study the Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report and get to know who was the true traitor, General Yahya Khan or Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.”

The video argued that the former military dictator was the one actually responsible for the country’s breakup, referring to purported atrocities committed by the Pakistani military during the civil war. The video also interspersed images of the current civilian and military leadership, alleging that they stole the former ruling party’s mandate in the general elections.

The post generated intense blowback and controversy, particularly from the government ranks. After initially disassociating itself from the post, the PTI on Friday also “owned” the post and demanded exactly what was initially called for, that people read the Hamoodur Rehman Commission report and the military should work within its constitutional limits. In a statement issued after its core committee meeting, the party claimed that the FIA was hell-bent on making another case against Mr Khan.

Speaking on a Geo News programme ‘Naya Pakistan’, PTI spokesperson Raoof Hasan said all three PTI leaders will respond to the summons and go to the FIA Cyber Crime Reporting Centre.

“We will basically tell the reality. What is in that video?” Mr Hasan said, referring to the video in Imran’s May 26 post. “It contains extracts from the Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report and we have not coined anything on our own nor have we targeted any institution”.

In a recent meeting of PTI’s core committee, he said some of the participants were of the view that the second part of the tweet should have not been posted on social media.

The PTI spokesperson rejected the “basis” on which the FIA was conducting its inquiry into the matter but the three leaders would still follow legal procedures and requirements. He said it was “reality” that Imran could not see the content of his X account since he did not have the requisite facilities in prison.

The PTI spokesman said the party did not target any institution or the military but only drew parallels for the current ruling class.

‘Fix the wrongs’

Separately, former president Dr Arif Alvi insisted that “facts” shared in the Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report could help fix the wrongs made in history for a prosperous and democratic future.

While speaking at a lawyers convention at the Karachi Bar Assoc­iation, Mr Alvi said all civilian governments had covered “mistakes” and “role of intelligence agencies” for which they paid the price and even the elected prime minister of the country was executed “in a great show of injustice”.

“What’s wrong if Imran Khan suggested reading the Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report?” he questioned.

“Let me tell you that it’s always the civilian governments which cover the role of agencies and their mistakes. The PTI government covered them. The PDM government covered them and even today the civilian government is doing the same.”

Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2024

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