Pakistan’s top investigating agency has arrested five people as part of the nationwide crackdown against those involved in running a “malicious campaign” against Prime Minister Imran Khan, his wife Bushra Bibi and the Army on social media.
On Monday, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) confirmed the arrest of Sabir Mehmood Hashmi, a social media activist from the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
“We have arrested Sabir Mahmood Hashmi from Lahore for his alleged involvement for using abusive language about PM Khan, his wife Bushra Bibi and the Army and running a malicious campaign against them on social media (Twitter),” a senior FIA official told PTI on Tuesday.
Five arrests were made so far, with more expected in the coming days, after the FIA recovered vital clues from Hashmi’s mobile phone, the official said.
Last week, reports began to circulate on social media about differences between Prime Minister Khan and his wife.
On Sunday, Farah Khan, a close friend of Bibi took to Twitter to announce that the First Lady was living with her husband at the Bani Gala residence.
“Fake propaganda was being spread through Whatsapp messages about the first couple,” she said. “The First Lady is not living in my house but at Bani Gala in Islamabad,” she added.
While chairing a meeting of the Central Executive Committee on Monday, Prime Minister Khan expressed displeasure over the trend of personal attacks.
Condemning the act, he called it “cheap and intolerable,” adding that “such elements cannot be left unchecked and their actions have to be condemned”.
Maryam Nawaz, the Vice-President of PML-N, however, has lashed out at Khan over Hashmi’s arrest. In a tweet on Monday, Nawaz said: “The abduction of Sabir Mehmood Hashmi in broad daylight testifies to the disillusionment of the government. Is Imran Khan a sacred cow whose looting and failures cannot be criticised?”
She added that the party was behind Hashmi, and the FIA should also refrain from being a puppet of the government.