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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Man accused of leading social media campaign against army commander put on two-day physical remand

After former Prime Minister Imran Khan was deposed through a no-confidence motion, a court magistrate in Lahore detained a man in the physical custody of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for two days for allegedly launching a smear campaign against the army and its head.

According to the FIA, the person utilised his Twitter account to conduct a campaign against the army chief.

It asked the magistrate to impose a 14-day physical remand on the defendant, but the court only imposed a two-day remand.

The suspect was apprehended by the FIA in Lahore on Tuesday.

Later that day, the FIA arrested at least eight people across Punjab after launching a crackdown on social media activists it suspected of being involved in an anti-army campaign.

Sections of the contentious Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act are being used to prosecute the arrested men.

Following Imran’s dismissal on April 10 in the wake of a no-confidence motion by the combined opposition in the National Assembly, the FIA counterterrorism wing jumped into action after a vilification campaign against the army commander was initiated on social networking websites.

Since last Sunday, the army, the judiciary, and the new administration have been the most popular subjects on Twitter, with 4.3 million tweets using those hashtags on Tuesday.

“In connection with a social media campaign against the army and the judiciary, we have arrested eight persons from different regions of Punjab, including Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, and Gujrat.” “Further arrests are expected in the coming days,” an FIA spokesman told Dawn.

Yesterday, a meeting of Pakistan Army officers took note of recent social media criticism directed at the organisation.

In a statement, the military’s media wing said, “The forum took note of some quarters’ recent propaganda attempt to discredit [the] Pakistan Army and create discord between the institution and society.”

The group also expressed “full trust in the leadership’s well-considered approach to protect the Constitution and the rule of law at all costs,” according to the statement.

The forum also emphasised the importance of Pakistan’s national security. “The Pakistan Army has always stood by state institutions to protect them and would continue to do so without compromise.”

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