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Thursday June 13, 2024

Countrywide crackdown: Seven arrested for social media campaign against institutions

FIA raided a location in Lahore's Sabzazar to arrest the “mastermind” behind over 2,100 Twitter accounts involved in a social media campaign

By Arshad Dogar
April 13, 2022
Entrance of the FIA building Islamabad. Photo: The News/File
Entrance of the FIA building Islamabad. Photo: The News/File

LAHORE: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has arrested a “mastermind” and at least six other members of his network for launching a Twitter trend against the Pakistan Army, in the wake of recent political developments in the country.

The FIA first raided a location in the Sabzazar area of Lahore to arrest the “mastermind.” He was behind over 2,100 Twitter accounts involved in a social media propaganda campaign against the Pakistan Army. During the interrogation, the mastermind named other members of his network and the agency arrested other six people from different cities. 

Two of the accused were arrested from Islamabad and one each from Lahore, Multan, Karachi, and Faisalabad. The 2,100 Twitter accounts had fired a total of 200,000 tweets against the Pakistan Army. The agency has identified around 2,000 Twitter accounts involved in hate speech.

Meanwhile, the FIA Cybercrimes director said at an internal briefing that at least 50,000 webpages 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 on Tuesday held a key meeting at the FIA headquarters to address the issue. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders have distanced themselves from social media posts against the state institutions. However, at the same time, the official Twitter handle of the PTI has urged party activists to report to the party if they or anyone they know “is getting threats or targeted for political victimisation by anyone.”

After PTI leader Imran Khan was voted out as the prime minister by the National Assembly on Saturday, PTI activists have condemned the move in tens of thousands of tweets, saying that they would not accept what they call “the imported government” under Shehbaz Sharif.