Tuesday January 31, 2023

Asif pledges legal action against ‘PTI-India joint venture’

Social media handlers of PTI and activists ran a smear campaign against the Pakistan Army, says Khawaja Asif

August 18, 2022
Defence Minister Khwaja Muhammad Asif. —APP
Defence Minister Khwaja Muhammad Asif. —APP

ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif alleged on Wednesday that the social media campaign against the Pakistan Army was a joint venture of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Indian handlers, saying that the law would take its course in the case at any cost.

Addressing a press conference here, he said the PTI leadership attempted to divert the public attention from the verdict in the foreign funding case against them by launching social media campaigns.

“As the first diversion, the social media handlers of the PTI and activists ran a smear campaign against the Pakistan Army and Indians actively participated in it,” he said. The Lasbela tragedy, which claimed six lives including those of senior officers, was mourned by the whole nation, but the PTI leadership, with the support of foreign social media handlers, ran such a smear campaign which was never witnessed from any political party.

He said that at a time when the nation was mourning martyrdom of officers and a Jawan in the helicopter crash, a smear social media campaign was started by PTI people with the support of India and other countries’ social media handlers. “As a result of investigations by the FIA, a total of 529 social media accounts from within the country, 18 Indian accounts and 33 accounts from other countries were identified,” the minister revealed.

“Television channels in India are also saying that India cannot do by spending billions of dollars which Imran is doing [against Pak Army] on the social media,” he said. He maintained transparent legal action would be taken in the light of findings of the investigations.

“We will proceed ahead as per law of the land and rest assured there will be no score-settling and victimisation,” he said. He said the way the social media handlers of a political party ran a smear campaign, the whole nation was ashamed of it. “Nobody could imagine that they will use such mean and filthy language in their tweets against an institution concerning the country’s defence.” He said the law had come into action and God willing, the issue would be taken to a logical end. “No patriotic person can think of running such a mean campaign and that too with the support of India,” he added.

The defence minister said the second diversion which the PTI leadership attempted was from Shahbaz Gill’s statement on a television channel. He added that earlier PTI Chairman Imran Khan was not speaking about his party leader Shahbaz Gill’s statement that allegedly incited hate against the army. “Feeling that he and his party did not receive any dividends from the statement of Shahbaz Gill, Imran Khan distanced himself from it,” he said. He said Imran was so much desperate after losing power that he had lost his mental balance. Kh Asif said that as a minister, it was his duty and right to talk on the defence related issued and defend concerned institutions and their reputation.

He said the process for appointment of the new army chief was yet to start, but it should not become a political debate in the country. “The appointment of a new army chief should not become a political debate. But I can tell you with certainty that no process in this connection has been started yet,” he said while responding to a question.

He told another questioner that the presence of TTP people could not be denied, but it should be seen whether it was as harmful as it was in the past in Swat. “I think such harmful presence will not be there InshaAllah,” he said.