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Web Desk
April 26, 2020

FIA alerted by Sindh over online smear campaign claiming provincial govt took bribes from traders


Web Desk
Sun, Apr 26, 2020
Senator Murtaza Wahab, the chief minister's adviser on law and the spokesperson for the government of Sindh (L). The News/via; Karachi Electronic Dealers Association (KEDA) President Muhammad Rizwan Irfan (L). Facebook/KEDA/via The News

KARACHI: The government of Sindh has alerted the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to an online smear campaign aimed at sabotaging the provincial leadership's efforts and response to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter to the FIA, Sindh government spokesperson Senator Murtaza Wahab alerted the authority of the social media campaign against the provincial leadership, saying that audio clips and video tapes with fake claims were deliberately spread on social media.

The said audio clips and video tapes had accused the provincial government of asking traders and industrialists for bribes, Wahab said, adding that PTI leader Haleem Adil Sheikh posted similar accusations, using the same media, on his social media accounts.

Wahab said that the business community itself had rejected the baseless claims made in the anti-Sindh government propaganda.

The purpose of the propaganda was to destabilise the government of Sindh, the senator stated in his letter to the FIA. The provincial leadership has demanded action against the online smear campaign, he added.

He said that those involved must be held accountable.

'Propagandists will fail'

A day earlier, Wahab had refuted rumours that the provincial government was demanding bribes to reopen shops as the lockdown continued to hurt businesses and economic activities in the province.

In a video message, he had said such allegations were an attempt to malign provincial authorities, noting that allegations of soliciting bribes from traders were "baseless and are fabricated lies".

"The Sindh government will not reduce public service with such heinous tactics," he had said. "The propagandists will fail."

Wahab had also reminded people that the province was doing everything in its power to ensure they were not suffering hardship in these challenging times and that it had taken safety measures after the first case was reported on February 26.

At this critical juncture, absurd and baseless allegations must be avoided. "If any individual or association has evidence, we assure you of action against the perpetrators," he had concluded.

'No truth to such false claims'

The same day, the Karachi Electronic Dealers Association (KEDA) had also condemned the propaganda against the Sindh government.

In a statement by the KEDA, President Muhammad Rizwan Irfan had said some miscreants started a smear campaign online, whereby they were referring to a meeting between traders and Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah at the CM House and using it to fabricate lies and create propaganda to fulfill their nefarious goals.

"It is requested that people should not become a part of this conspiracy as there is no truth to such false claims," the KEDA had said, reminding everyone that forwarding or sharing such messages was a cyber crime and legal action may be taken against such acts.

The traders' body had added that an inquiry was initiated against those responsible for the reprehensible smear campaign and "such black sheep will be brought to justice very soon".

"Therefore, all friends and allies are requested not to be part of such a malicious campaign," the KEDA said.

In a report on the same day, the KEDA president had said the reason to launch such a smear campaign was "to cause harm to the agreement that was struck between the government of Sindh and the traders."

"I request the people to not forward messages without verifying them first," he had said.