An Anti-Electronic Crime Court in the federal capital on Tuesday rejected the bail applications of two accused, who have been accused of running social media pages for the proscribed organisations.
Judge of the anti-electronic crimes court, Tahir Mahmood, heard the applications for bail after the arrest of accused Sibtul Hassan and Hamza Naqvi.
The accused were booked under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 for running social media pages for a banned outfit and spreading hate materials on social media.
Two separate FIRs under the Act were registered against the accused. The accused moved to the local court for bail after the arrest.
Judge Tahir Mahmood after hearing arguments of the accused counsel and prosecutor of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) rejected the bail.
The FIA had arrested three accused including Muhammad Bilal, Sibtul Hasaan and Hamza Naqvi for running social media pages of the banned outfit, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Tehreek-e-Jafferia Pakistan.
The cyber crimes cell of the Federal Investigation Agency has recently launched a crackdown on those spreading fake news and spreading religious and sectarian hatred on social media. The agency has booked many activists and supporters of banned outfits including LeJ and other on the charges of spreading sectarian hatred and religious disharmony.
In October this year, the FIA had arrested three activists of banned outfits for allegedly operating social media pages of their respective organisations.
FIA officials said the arrested accused were part of a network operating social media pages for the proscribed outfit for the last couple of years. They said the accused, Muhammad Bilal, Sibtul Hasaan and Hamza Naqvi, are affiliated with the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and Tehreek-i-Jafaria Pakistan (TJP).
Three separate cases under various sections of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act and Anti-Terrorism Act were registered against the accused.
The arrests came as a result of an inquiry initiated by the FIA’s Counter Terrorism Wing in June last year after cyber activities of the banned outfits were spotted on social media. The FIA officials said internet protocol (IP) addresses, mobile phone numbers and email addresses attached with social media pages and used while operating the pages had been put under surveillance.
As a result of more than one year’s surveillance on their e-activities and inquiry, the officials said, the FIA identified these three persons who were operating the banned outfits’ pages on social media, claiming that the agency had sufficient evidence against them for their involvement in such activities. They said efforts were underway to trace their other accomplices.
The accused were operating the pages of the proscribed organisations through their Facebook accounts, the FIA officials said, adding that they were found involved in “disseminating, glorifying and advancing the objectives of the proscribed organisations”.
Besides taking action against those spreading religious hatred, the FIA is also running a campaign against those disseminating fake news and defamation campaign against judges and high government functionaries.
State Minister for Interior Shehryar Afridi has recently issued instructions to the DG FIA to apprehend all those involved in posting fake and baseless news on social media aimed at defaming country’s institutions and top office holders.