While social media works as a good time pass for many of us, it has also emerged as a very useful tool to highlight social issues in recent years.
According to DataReportal, the number of active social media users in Pakistan stood at 37 million as of January 2019, and the number is increasing rapidly. There has been an increasing trend of highlighting issues on social media in Pakistan.
In the last year or so, a number of controversial cases have been brought to the limelight on social media. It’s remarkable how 280 characters, a few photos, and videos can hold influential people accountable. Gone are the days when social media was rendered useless; now, if you use the platform in the right manner, there’s every chance that your just plight will be heard by the relevant people.
With only a few days left in 2019, let’s have a recap of some of the most memorable incidents from 2019, which got the social media’s attention and yielded justified outcomes.
1. Sahiwal Killings
In January, a Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) team intercepted a family near Sahiwal and killed four people suspecting them as terrorists.
The deceased included Mohammad Khalil, his wife, elder daughter, and their neighbor Zeeshan, who was behind the steering wheel. Two children, Umair and Muneeba, survived the attack.
No words to express my feelings on killing of 4 unarmed people in presence of their 3 innocent children in #Sahiwal, they should have been arrested if there was any charges against them. Extra judicial killing is unjustifiable, #Sahiwalkilling has again exposed #NayaPakistan pic.twitter.com/JOBPJOuEZ9
— Farooque Bhayo (@FarooqueBhayo) January 20, 2019
The incident was initially touted as an encounter with terrorists, and the CTD team involved was declared innocent. However, the video footage, shot on a mobile camera by the onlookers, revealed that it was a murder. The incident made headlines for weeks and kept Twitterati on the heels.
Prime Minister Imran Khan was later forced to take notice. In a Twitter post, he vowed to bring the responsible ones to justice. The CTD team was then arrested, and a case was registered against them, which calmed the waters for the time being.
Later in September, an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) acquitted all the suspects due to ‘insufficient evidence.’ The weak prosecution of the case angered social media again, forcing the government to jump in and order an inquiry into the ‘criminal negligence in prosecution.’
2. Farishta Murder Case
Farishta, a ten years old Pushtoon girl from Islamabad’s Shehzad Town area, was abducted from outside her house on May 15 this year. And the police reportedly refused to register a complaint.
People protest against the brutal murder of 10-year girl Farishta n Islamabad. Farishta frm Mohmand tribal district kidnapped, raped & killed days ago. Family says police initially refused to registered case. Protesters kept her body at Taramri chowk and demand arrest of killers pic.twitter.com/yrQ4pM3Rn9
— Tahir Khan (@taahir_khan) May 21, 2019
The case was registered four days after the incident after a massive backlash on Twitter. The next day, the girl was found dead near Tramri Chowk in Islamabad.
For several days, Islamabad police and local administration were at the receiving end on Twitter and other social media platforms. Police arrested her close relative under kidnapping and murder charges on June 22.
Murderer of Farishta Murder case arrested: IGP.
Sir its breaking news that IGP Muhammad Aamir Zulfiqar khan constituted 02 special teams under supervision of DIG Ops.Finally in a totally blind murder case, real culprit nisar was arrested and sent to judicial lock up. pic.twitter.com/WYtCBW4LhD
— Islamabad Police (@ICT_Police) June 22, 2019
3. Kasur Rape & Murder Case
The pain of Zainab’s rape and murder had not yet eased for the residents of Chunian, a subdivision of Kasur District, when they were forced to witness a similar incident, this time against minor boys.
The incident was reported earlier this year when four children aged under 12, went missing between June and September. The last of them was eight-year-old Faizan, who was abducted on September 16.
As usual, the Police had to be reminded of their duties by social media. The hue and cry on Twitter, Facebook, and the mainstream media prompted Police to begin Tehsil-wide search. Police found the remains of three of the abducted kids on September 17.
— Alia Chughtai (@AliaChughtai) September 18, 2019
The social media kept the issue alive for weeks until the police arrested the culprit Sohail Shehzad on October 1. An ATC court later sentenced him to death on charges of murder.
4. Baoo Jee Dead Chicken
There is a reason why a large number of people avoid dining out due to the fear of sub-standard food. The fear turned true when last a month, a viral video revealed that one of the restaurants in Islamabad, Baoo Jee, was serving its customers dead chicken.
— Islamabad 🇵🇰 (@Islaamabad) November 18, 2019
In the video, the alleged chicken supplier was seen informing that he will be delivering this truck full of dead chicken to, ‘Baoo Jee Murgh Pulao’ at Khanna Pul in Islamabad.
Following the video, the ICT Food Department officials raided the restaurant and held the responsible accountable.
5. Rich Man Torturing a Helpless Man on Lahore Road
Not long ago, a video shot somewhere in Lahore went viral in which a man driving a luxury car was seen torturing a helpless man on the roads=.
LEH-17-8931 reportedly this vehicle belongs to Aqeel Mirza,a man hitting a poor defenceless man straight in his face & rebukes him mercilessly.Whatever the matter was,does anyone has a right to humiliate someone on the road with a gun & boots?state?security? pic.twitter.com/wkCvLZpVct
— Syeda Ayesha Naz (@Ayeshanaz1Naz) December 14, 2019
He held a gun in his hand assaulted the young man with slaps and kicks. Within 24 hours of the video hitting the social media, the assaulter, Aqeel Mirza was identified, arrested, and sent behind bars.
FIR No. 2510/19,
PS South Cantt,
R/o State Life Society,
Good job Lahore Police. Justice has been served.@CcpoLahore @Lahorepoliceops @PoliceAwam @OFFICIALDPRPP pic.twitter.com/kRoIzSiAqf
— Ahsan Saifullah (@ahsan_saifullah) December 15, 2019
6. Salahuddin’s Custodial Death
When the country was dealing with widespread rains and urban floods in various parts of the country this August, a mentally disabled person was arrested in Rahim Yar Khan for robbing an ATM.
Late in August, Salahuddin, a resident of Gujranwala, was caught on CCTV camera, breaking open the ATM to steal the cash. A few days later, he was reported dead in police custody. Police said that he was a habitual offender and was wanted in various similar incidents.
The Twitter users who were initially happy to see the Police reacting quickly were furious on his custodial murder and demanded immediate arrest of the interrogation team.
Resultantly, the provincial government had to intervene, and three accused policemen were sent behind bars, and a case was registered against them.
Update in the Salahuddin Case:
1) DSP suspended
2) FIR against police officials
3) A murder case registered against 3 officials incl SHO. All 3 suspended
4) A 5-doc board conducted an autopsy; ruled out any torture
5) A request to Sessions Judge moved for Judicial enquiry
— Mehr Tarar (@MehrTarar) September 4, 2019
Later in October, Salahuddin’s father, Afzal, pardoned the two policemen involved in his son’s death, while the third accused was declared innocent by the court.
7. Traffic Police Manhandling a Civilian
Back in October, a Motorway Police official was suspended and put on trial after his video went viral wherein he was seen maltreating a citizen.
The victim, who was recording a video, alleged him of discriminatory behavior, as he allowed other over-speeding cars to go through without stopping them. The official snatched the mobile phone from him, which was also recorded in the video.
8. Fawal Alam’s Inclusion in National Team
Fawad Alam, the top performer in domestic cricket with over 12000 first-class runs, and 34 centuries wasn’t considered for the national Test team unless it was for significant support from social and mainstream media.
– 3rd 💯 of this season
– 33rd FC Cricket 💯
– 12000 runs in FC Cricket pic.twitter.com/D5f1ZJCLl1
— Rana Asad (@RanaAsad2016) November 27, 2019
Despite having the highest average in the domestic circuit, Fawad was not called up even when Mis-You called it quits to the international arena. He wasn’t included when Pakistan needed him the most in Australia.
But, a continuously rising social media pressure on the back of humiliating defeats at the hands of Australia paved his way in. It was, however, unfortunate that he wasn’t included in any of the two home games against Sri Lanka. The team management came under the pump yet again for ignoring him in favor of out-of-form Haris Sohail.
Featured Image Via UHP
What are your thoughts on the power of social media? Let us know in the comments section.