FIA Starts Inquiry into ‘Social Media Campaign’ against Crown Prince’s Visit.

The Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Cybercrime Wing has registered inquiries against certain journalists and groups for allegedly starting a targeted social media campaign against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman’s visit in February.

FIA issued a letter in this regard, which caught the attention of the masses when journalist Murtaza Solangi, whose name is present in the letter, criticized the government in a tweet.

“So the shameful government of Imran Khan has a problem with putting the picture of slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi on your Twitter profile and considers it against the law?”, Solangi tweeted.

FIA sources have confirmed the authenticity of the letter. Signed by FIA Additional Director Cybercrime Wing Chaudhry Abdul Rauf, the letter directs all additional directors of the agency in Rawalpindi to initiate inquiries against six journalists and four groups.

Names of Journalists

Those named in the letter include:

  1. Matiullah Jan
  2. Murtaza Solangi
  3. Azaz Syed
  4. Ammar Masood
  5. Umer Cheema
  6. Ahmed Waqas Goraya
  7. Majlis-i-Wahdat-i-Muslimeen (MWM)
  8. Imamia Students Organization (ISO)
  9. Hizbul Tahrir Pak
  10. Tameer-i-Watan Party

The letter reads,

A targeted social media campaign was planned/executed against the [crown prince’s] visit, during which [a] few social media activists and groups remained particularly consistent/active till the very last day of the visit.

It stated that the activists had put up the picture of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi as a display picture on their social media profile during the crown prince’s visit. According to FIA, doing so has conveyed a very ‘disrespectful message to the visiting guest.’

Referring to the groups, it stated,

These groups/party’s members were found most active on social media against Mohammad Bin Salman’s visit to Pakistan.

The additional directors have been asked to present a daily report on the inquiries to Deputy Director Ayaz Khan.

Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in the Kingdom’s Istanbul consulate in October 2018. The Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) investigation pointed at the crown prince for this murder. This spurred a huge backlash from the world and tainted the reputation of the Saudi dignitary.