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FIA gets remand of man held for ‘casting a slur’ on military

Officials say suspect created a number of social media accounts and targeted COAS

A judicial magistrate on Wednesday handed over a suspect to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on a two-day physical remand for allegedly running a smear campaign against Pakistan Army and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

As the hearing commenced, FIA officials produced suspect Shafqat Masood before the judicial magistrate and submitted that he was involved in running a social media campaign against the state institutions.

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The FIA officials said the suspect created a number of social media accounts and targeted General Bajwa. They said he ran a campaign against the Pakistan Army on social media. They asked the court to grant his 14-day physical remand for interrogation, as the investigation into his other social media accounts was yet to be conducted.

After hearing arguments of the FIA officials, the judicial magistrate allowed a two-day physical remand of the suspect and directed the officials to produce him again before the court with an investigation report.

The development took place after anti-state elements targeted the Pakistan Army, especially General Bajwa, on Twitter. Following the social media trends against the military, the FIA had launched an operation and arrested more than a dozen people. The agency also started an investigation against the anti-state elements.

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The hashtags targeting the military became top trends soon after Imran Khan lost the vote of no-confidence in the National Assembly. The judiciary and the new government also came under fire on social media.

Army officials had also taken notice of the smear campaign on social media targeting state institutions.

In a statement after the 79th Formation Commanders’ Conference held the other day, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said, “The forum took note of the recent propaganda campaign by some quarters to malign the Pakistan Army and create division between the institution and society.”

It also said that the meeting expressed full confidence in the leadership’s stance to uphold the constitution and rule of law. It also emphasised on the point that national security would be protected.

“Pakistan Army has always stood by the state institutions to guard it and always will, without any compromise,” it added.



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