13th April 2022

Staff report


At least eight people were arrested in a Tuesday crackdown by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for allegedly running an online smear campaign against Pakistan’s military establishment following former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ouster on April 9.

While it was not specified which political party the suspects were affiliated with, former federal minister Asad Umar announced on via Twitter that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) will move the high courts against the targeted harassment of its social media activists today.

The official PTI Twitter account on Sunday reported that former Focal Person for the PM on Digital Media Dr. Arslan Khalid’s home had been raided. Former Focal Person for the Punjab Chief Minister on Digital Media Azhar Mashwani added in a tweet that 11 men entered Dr. Khalid’s home in the early hours of Sunday morning, threatened him and his family, and seized their phones and laptop.

Voicepk.net reached out to Mashwani, who revealed that he has received reports that at least four other homes of PTI loyalists were hit by FIA personnel the same night as the raid on Dr. Khalid’s residence.

“We cannot confirm at the moment, but four to five people have tweeted that their homes had also been raided. The raid on Dr. Khalid’s home however is confirmed,” he said, clarifying that the other complainants are not official members of the PTI, rather they are supporters.

Mashwani revealed that two supporters identified as Muhammad Waqas and Shafqat Chaudhry are in FIA custody.

“They have yet to be produced before court, they are in illegal custody,” he said. “There is an Islamabad High Court verdict which restricts the FIA from making any arrests prior to serving any notice.”

The FIA sprang into action against PTI leaders and loyalists following the no-confidence vote against Imran Khan on Saturday, and subsequent mass resignations by party members.

Following reports of the raid on Dr. Khalid’s home on Sunday, it was revealed that the FIA had placed him as well as five other aides of the former PM on a “stoplist”, preventing them from travelling outside the country without permission. The list included former Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Political Communication Shahbaz Gill, former Advisor to the PM on Interior and Accountability Shahzad Akbar, former Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Azam Khan, Director-General Anti-Corruption Punjab Muhammad Gohar Nafees, and Director-General FIA Punjab Zone ll Mohammad Rizwan.

On Tuesday, the Islamabad High Court suspended the FIA’s order to place the aforementioned names on the “stoplist”. The same day, in a press release issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) on the 79th Formation Commanders’ Conference in Rawalpindi, which was presided over by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Qamar Javed Bajwa, it was stated that the “forum took note of the recent propaganda campaign by some quarters to malign Pakistan Army and create division between the institution and society.”

As of Wednesday (today), Deputy Secretary to the Federal Government Arqam Tariq issued a notification for the transfer of Babur Bakht Qureshi from the post of Director Operations of the FIA’s Cyber Crime Wing.


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