Nisar rejects criticism over social media crackdown, vows to step up action


ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan Tuesday rejected opposition’s criticism and PTI’s threat of protest over FIA’s crackdown on social media activists for anti-army propaganda.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, the minister assured that no restrictions were being imposed on social media. However, he added that no one would be allowed to use social media for propaganda against national institutions including army and judiciary and for blasphemous content.
Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said the constitution of Pakistan bars assailing and maligning the armed forces and judiciary; therefore, the social media cannot be allowed to violate the constitution.
He said there was no check and balance on social media; therefore, the government wanted to ensure that the country’s laws should not be flayed by those using social media.
He warned that the government would take action against those who are violating the Pakistani laws and constitution, adding that there would be no discrimination in this regard. “Strict action would be taken against those who post offensive content even if they belong from the PML_N,” said Nisar.
The minister said efforts would be stepped up to track internet users’ activities online and hunt down undesirable elements online.
“For the last two weeks, posts making a mockery of Pakistan Army have surfaced,” he said. “I believe that no Pakistani can have made these remarks against the army,” he said.
“After the [ISPR] tweet and subsequent clarification, [the reaction] I saw on social media was a matter of concern for me,” he said. “Such posts are not tolerable.”
“27 IDs have been identified, of which six were interviewed and the rest are in queue. There has been no arrest and no ‘harassment’,” he claimed. If someone refuses to appear before the FIA for interview, then the FIA takes action against him, he clarified.
“The people under interrogation are allowed to bring their lawyers along with them during questioning,” the interior minister said.
“Their devices will be checked forensically, and if they have not been wiped clean, the accused will be arrested,” he promised.
He said that the Constitution, Pakistan, institutions and the values of the country were under attack by a section of social media.
He said that he would request the speaker to convene a meeting of the parliamentary leaders for deciding the SOPs for social media. “A free-for-all system cannot be allowed. [Social media] has wide outreach, and it shapes public opinion,” he said.


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