FIA to Crack Down on SMS Messages

Interior Minister,  Rehman Malik has directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to crack down on unscrupulous elements involved in cyber crime, particularly the misuse of short message service (SMS) by some banned outfits to advance their agenda.

“The interior minister has directed the FIA director general to be vigilant against the elements involved in cyber crime, including the misuse of SMS,” an official told The News. “The interior minister has directed the agency to specifically check the use of SMS service by some banned outfits to mobilize the public in their favour and provoke public against the government besides propagating their activities and agenda to create unrest in the country,” he said.

This correspondent asked the official as to what steps the government was taking to stop or counter the propaganda of some banned outfits, particularly the Hizb-ut-Tahrir, through the SMS.

The Hizb-ut-Tahrir, originally a Palestinian organisation headquartered in London, was banned under the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 on November 20, 2003. He said the SMS campaign of the outlawed Hizb-ut-Tahrir was in the notice of the Ministry of Interior and other concerned agencies. He said that Hizb-ut-Tahrir had particularly become active after the ongoing Swat operation was launched. He said an SMS was circulated by the banned organization on May 9 from telephone number 0314/4978858, in which it tried to provoke the masses against the government with reference to the declaration of all-out war against the militants by the prime minister in his televised address.

This correspondent had also received the SMS from the same number. Another SMS, circulated on May 11 from telephone number 0313/4337329, stated: “Hizb ut-Tahrir staged protest demonstrations in Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi against the Army operation in Swat. In the demonstrations, stoppage of the massacre of Muslims at the hands of Muslims and ouster of America from the region was demanded.”

Similarly, a press statement circulated by Naveed Butt, the spokesman for Hizb-ut-Tahrir Pakistan, via email on May 4 stated: “The government is spilling the blood of innocent people under the banner of writ of state and fighting militancy.

“The time has come that the sincere elements within the people of power must remove this government to stop this war and provide Nusrah [victory] to Hizb-ut-Tahrir so that the killing of Muslims may be stopped.”

When contacted, Interior Minister, Rehman Malik told this correspondent that the government was aware of the activities of some banned outfits in the wake of the Swat operation and was taking steps to initiate legal action against them.

“No outlawed organisation will be allowed to provoke masses against the government and advance their agenda of promoting extremism,” he said. “The short message service of the cellular companies falls in the category of cyber crime and the elements, misusing this service will be dealt with as per the relevant law.”

Source: Mazhar Tufail @ The News