New wave of crackdown against political workers for online content

ISLAMABAD:   A new wave of ‘crackdown’ allegedly against political workers of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz has commenced.

According to multiple social media accounts that the scribe followed, at least two workers of PML-N social media team had been arrested in Rawalpindi and another summoned in Karachi by Federal Investigation Agency over the past 72 hours.

According to a copy of First Information Report, FIR, available with Media Matters for Democracy, two people named Adil Anwar Tanoli and Wajid Rasul Malik were arrested for using their twitter accounts to “unauthorizedly, dishonestly with malafide intention and ulterior motives uploaded; disseminated defamatory, objectionable and disgraceful material/contents against Honorable judges of Supreme Court, Armed Forces of Pakistan, Government of Pakistan etc.

According to the FIR, the case was registered against the two by FIA’s Rawalpindi office under Sections 9, 10(a) and 20 of cybercrime act PECA 2016 and sections 500, 501, 505, 109 and 34 of Pakistan Penal Code, PPC.

As soon as the news of the arrests broke out, various social media accounts reached out to Federal Minister of Interior about the arrest. Some also shared more stories of harassment faced by social media team members of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz, PML-N.  One twitter social account shared how a PML-N member of social media team named Anam Chaudhary was being harassed by FIA in Karachi. In this regard, a letter was also shared on social media.

Meanwhile, responding to arrests of PML-N microbloggers, Federal Minister for Interior Ahsan Iqbal expressed his ignorance at the arrests. Through his twitter account, he said that the matter was being investigated.


Talal Raza is a Program Manager at Media Matters for Democracy. He has worked with renowned media organizations and NGOs including Geo News, The Nation, United States Institute of Peace and Privacy International.

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