Authorities in Pakistan allegedly abducted the Instagram head of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf here on Thursday as part of the federal government’s ongoing crackdown against social media activists from ousted prime minister Imran Khan’s party.
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in collaboration with the intelligence agencies and police have launched a nationwide operation against social media activists, especially of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party following an alleged online smear campaign against Pakistan Army chief Gen Asim Munir.
Attaur Rehman, PTI’s Instagram head was picked up from Lahore in the early hours of Thursday.
Khan on Thursday claimed on Twitter that the party’s Instagram lead Attaur Rehman was “picked up” on Thursday morning from Lahore.
“Another abduction late last night — this time of PTI’s Instagram lead Attaur Rehman from Faisal Town Lahore. Strongly condemn these continuing abductions of our social media team. Atta has been with us for 15 years. The powerful are breaking all laws with impunity,” Khan tweeted and demanded his release.
Last week, the intelligence agencies picked another main social media activist, the PTI — ‘Humara Pak’ head Waqas Amjad — who was allegedly tortured in judicial custody.
Last month, Khan’s focal person on social media Azhar Mashwani was also picked up by authorities.
Khan has blamed the military establishment for “abducting” his party’s social media activists.
He deplored the torture of Amjad, saying, “today there is total law of the jungle in Pakistan.” “Orders come from a ‘higher authority (establishment)’ that seems above all laws & abductions are done first, then sham FIRs registered,” Khan lamented.
Khan said Pakistan has descended into a “banana republic,” where there is no rule of law and only the law of the jungle.” Khan, 70, lambasted the PMLN-led coalition government and its handlers in the military for registering over 140 FIRs against him.
“As bail in one FIR is granted, another FIR pops up. I have over 145 FIRs against me. It’s a circus of FIRs. My Bani Gala caretaker, my Zaman Park cook, our social media’s Mashwani, Waqas & my security in-charge Ghumman — all abducted & tortured to try & update their software,” Khan said.
The PTI has written to international forums drawing their attention to the violation of human rights, abductions, torture of political workers and muzzling of dissenting voices by the fascist regime of Shehbaz Sharif with the help of the military establishment.
According to Khan, over 3,000 PTI workers are languishing in different jails in the country without a charge.
Khan, the cricketer-turned-politician, was ousted from power in April last year after losing a no-confidence vote, becoming the first Pakistani prime minister to be voted out by the National Assembly.
Since his ouster, he has been demanding snap polls in the country to remove what he termed an “imported government” led by Prime Minister Sharif.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)