social media activists
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On Wednesday, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan accused the PML-N government of abusing the cybercrime law to persecute social media activists from his party.

“Govt abusing cybercrime law to politically victimize PTI social media activists by threatening/arresting them. Unacceptable in a democracy,” Mr. Khan posted on Twitter after the arrest of a PTI social media activist from Balochistan named Salar Kakar.

The police had informed Mr. Kakar that the FIA had been looking for him.

Mr. Kakar had tweeted “Told to submit mobile & laptop to [Federal Investigation Agency],”

Qasim Suri, an ex-president of the PTI’s Balochistan chapter, accompanied Mr. Kakar to the police station. He later told reporters that the police had informed Mr. Kakar that the FIA had been looking for him.

Mr. Suri confirmed that Mr. Kakar had received a notice from the FIA’s counter-terrorism wing, seeking his presence before the agency.

Mr. Suri said that he had taken Mr. Kakar to the FIA office along with his mobile phone and laptop where Mr. Kakar was asked to disclose the passwords of all his social media accounts.

Mr. Suri also told reporters that an FIA deputy director had received instructions from Islamabad to bring Mr. Kakar to the capital. He said while the nature of the allegation leveled against him was not disclosed, the social media activist was not allowed to return home to fetch any belongings instead he was brought to Islamabad by road.

Read More: Pakistani Govt’s War against “Social Media”?

Mr. Suri confirmed that Mr. Kakar had received a notice from the FIA’s counter-terrorism wing, seeking his presence before the agency. “Non-compliance to this order is punishable under law. Therefore your willful non-obedience of the order will render you liable for criminal proceedings under section 174 of the Pakistan Penal Code,” read the notice.

The PTI has also decided to forcefully pursue the issue in parliament.

The notice was signed by Nauman Ashraf Bodla, a deputy director who had been transferred from the cyber crime wing. The notice stated that Mr. Kakar is required to appear before the FIA’s counter-terrorism wing today (Thursday) at 11 am.

The PTI has also decided to forcefully pursue the issue in parliament.

Read More: Pakistan: Big Brother is watching you!

On Wednesday, PTI lawmakers submitted a calling-attention notice seeking to discuss “the issue of harassment of social media activists” and the alleged signing of secret agreements with social media sites which would allow the blocking of users who are critical of government policies.

Signatories of the notice were MNAs Asad Umar, retired Col Amirullah Marwat, Nafeesa Inayatullah Khattak, Aquibullah and Dr. Shireen Mazari

Previously, On 5th May, the popular Facebook page Siasat.pk was suspended. Neither Facebook nor PTA had provided any prior notice or warning to the administrators of the page. After a successful social media campaign, the Facebook page was restored but no acknowledgment of the action was received from PEMRA. Following Siasat.pk’s restoration several other, smaller pages have been similarly blocked.

Question for Discussion: Is the Govt.’s using social media policies to target PTI?

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