ISI, IB join probe into hate campaign

Legal action will be taken against elements after inquiry


Saleh Mughal August 08, 2022

RAWALPINDI:

The government extended the scope of the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) probe into the negative propaganda against the martyrs of the recent military helicopter crash in Balochistan by including two officers of the country’s premier intelligence agencies into the inquiry team.

The FIA opened the probe into the hate campaign on social media, announcing a four-member joint inquiry team (JIT), headed by Cyber Crimes Wing (CCW) Additional Director General Muhammad Jafar on Sunday.

The interior ministry on Monday issued another notification, stating that the JIT would also include Lt-Col Saad of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Deputy Director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), Waqar Nisar. The other members of the JIT are FIA CCE Director Waqaruddin Syed, CCW Additional Director Ayaz Khan and Assistant Director Imran Haider.

The investigation has been ordered as certain political zealots and a section of social media activists launched an abhorring campaign on popular social media platforms to advance their personal and political malice, following the army helicopter crash on August 1.

Six army officers, including Quetta Corps Commander Lt-Gen Sarfraz Ali, embraced martyrdom in the crash in Balochistan. The martyred were on a mission to provide relief to the flood-stricken people in the province.

The six-member joint inquiry team will find out those who hurt the reputation of the country and its institutions by running such trends against the institutions and the judiciary in the past, including those who ran negative campaigns about helicopters and martyrs on social media.

Read: PM condemns ‘horrifying’ campaign ‘ridiculing’ sacrifices of martyrs

Sources on Monday said that the JIT would trace those who were running negative trends and their instigators.

The team would also investigate those who damaged the reputation of the country and the institutions. After the inquiry, legal action would be taken against such elements, the sources added.

Earlier on Sunday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed his extreme displeasure at that the social media campaign aimed at belittling and ridiculing the sacrifices of martyrs, observing that the self-righteous political narratives were poisoning the minds of the youth and spurring hate speech.

Writing on his Twitter handle, the prime minister slammed this “horrifying” campaign, stressing that the moment called for a deep reflection and retrospection. “Which way are we headed?” the prime minister questioned, while expressing his worry.

“The social media campaign belittling and ridiculing the sacrifices of our martyrs was horrifying. This is what self-righteous political narratives do: they poison the minds of the youth and weaponise hate speech. Which way are we headed? The moment calls for a deep reflection,” Shehbaz tweeted.

Pakistan Army had expressed serious concern over the propaganda campaign after the incident. Video statements of some elements had also come on record in which they spoke about their affiliation, and promised not to spread such heinous propaganda in the future.

Last week, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) strongly condemned the “hurtful and derogatory” comments made by a certain group of people, saying that it had “caused deep anguish and distress among Shuhada families and rank and file” of the armed forces.

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