Govt to arrest all culprits involved in social media propaganda after chopper crash in Balochistan

RAWALPINDI: Government on Tuesday decided to arrest all individuals involved in negative social media campaign following the helicopter crash in Balochistan’s Lasbela district in which six Pakistan army soldiers were martyred, sources told Geo News on condition of anonymity.

Sources added that even people who led the propaganda, as revealed through investigations by those already arrested, will also be apprehended. The investigations so far disclose the involvement of Indian accounts in the social media campaign.

A campaign against the Pakistan Army began after workers of a political party and accounts of Indian-origin were actively participating via their social media accounts. As a result of the investigations, around 17 Indian accounts have been found linked to the campaign.

Investigations against malicious propaganda after the incident are currently underway by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). The FIA’s Cyber Crime Wing, last week, registered a case against the campaign and initiated a probe.

Headed by Additional Director General Cybercrimes Muhammad Jafar, a joint investigation is carrying out the inquiry of the case.

The investigation team includes Director Operations Waqar Chauhan, Additional Director Ayaz, and Assistant Director Imran Haider, sources told Geo News.

The development follows after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif characterised the campaign as “horrifying”.

“The social media campaign belittling and ridiculing the sacrifices of our martyrs was horrifying,” he wrote in a message on Twitter.

The prime minister attributed such vitriol to “self-righteous political narratives”.

“They poison the minds of the youth and weaponise hate speech. Which way are we headed?” he asked.

Earlier, speaking on Geo News show Naya Pakistan, Director General ISPR Major General Babar Iftikhar condemned the negative propaganda on social media which took off after the crash.

“We have been distressed since the accident on August 1. The propaganda has caused immense pain, particularly to the families of the martyrs,” the DG ISPR said, adding that elements spreading negative propaganda and rumours should be rejected.

“Insensitive behavior is unacceptable and should be condemned at every platform,” the DG ISPR asserted.

A statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) also regretted the disrespectful campaign flooding social media after the ill-fated helicopter crash on August 1, in which six soldiers of the Pakistan Army were martyred.

The military’s media wing said that the campaign has caused “deep anguish and distress” among the families of the martyrs and those within the ranks of armed forces.

“While the whole nation stood with the institution in this difficult time, certain insensitive quarters resorted to hurtful and derogatory comments on social media,” the statement read, adding that the campaign is “unacceptable and highly condemnable”.

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