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Several PTI men arrested by FIA for fanning venomous campaign against army on social media

About 200,000 tweets against the Pakistan Army were posted through the said 2,100 accounts. Meanwhile, the agency identified another 2,000 accounts involved in hate speech on Twitter.

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has arrested several suspects belonging to Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf for their alleged involvement in launching a venomous propaganda against the Pakistan Army through social media, following recent political developments in the country. The hate campaign against the security institutions began with the exit of Imran Khan as the prime minister as PTI activists largely condemned the move in tens of thousands of tweets. In their tweets they said that they would not accept what they call “the imported government” under Shehbaz Sharif.

Some suspects, including a “mastermind” and six other members of his network, have recently been arrested by the agency’s anti-terrorism wing. Five others were arrested earlier after the FIA started a crackdown against the “smear campaign,” as per Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s directives.

According to sources, a high-level social media monitoring is being done on a daily basis in Islamabad, which brought a top social media trend below No 4. The “mastermind” behind the anti-Army social media campaign was the first one to get nabbed during a raid by the FIA in Lahore’s Sabzazar area.

During interrogation, the detainee — who was reportedly behind over 2,100 Twitter accounts involved in the propaganda against the Pakistan Army — revealed the names his six accomplices operating in different cities, who were later arrested.

About 200,000 tweets against the Pakistan Army were posted through the said 2,100 accounts. Meanwhile, the agency identified another 2,000 accounts involved in hate speech on Twitter.

The FIA’s cybercrime wing director said at an internal briefing that at least 50,000 web pages had been identified in connection with the propaganda campaign against the Pakistan Army and the judiciary and most of the pages were being operated from abroad.

The FIA director-general also held a key meeting at the FIA headquarters to address the issue on Tuesday.

PTI to move court against ‘harassment’

Despite the FIA not associating the vilification campaign with any political party, PTI has decided to reach out to the court over the “harassment” against its social media activists.

“[A] petition challenging the harassment of PTI social media activists has been finalised and will be filed in high courts tomorrow (Wednesday) morning,” Asad Umar tweeted on Tuesday.

Javed Mahmood
Written By

I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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