Our Beacon Forum

The Missing Bloggers
By:Samiullah Kareem, Karachi
Date: Saturday, 14 January 2017, 12:00 am

The recently approved Pakistan Electronic Crime Act by the Parliament and promulgation of cybercrime law specifying punishments to the wrongdoers operating in the world of media with absolute callousness has alarmed the dissidents and made them cautious. In the last 12 days five social media activists including blogger Salman Haider have gone missing from Islamabad and Lahore. The other four are Waqar Goraya, Amir Saeed, Ahmad Raza and Samar Abbas (President of Civil Progressive Alliance). Their supporters are suspecting that they have been kidnapped to gag their freedom of speech on social media. A large number of human rights activists and some political leaders staged protest rallies in Islamabad, Peshawar, Lahore and Karachi on January 10, demanding speedy recovery of missing media activists and trial of those who had kidnapped them. Well-known liberals espousing right of freedom of speech were Tahira Abdullah, Dr, Farzana Bari, Pervez Hoodbhhoy, Afrasiab Khattak, Akhundzada and Farhatullah Babar. The electronic media is making hue and cry, completely ignoring the fact that the five missing persons particularly Salman had been spewing venom against Islam, religious beliefs and the govt. For the last few years, liberal fascists and extremist seculars have been relentlessly fanning germs of hatred in the society through social media. Although the strength of so-called enlightened and progressive segment is very small, but they have taken full advantage of social media free of restrictions to impose their anti-Islam and anti-state thoughts on the people of Pakistan and to mislead them.

Salman is in the vanguard of hate mongers. He had opened three twitter and Facebook accounts, namely Bhainsa (buffalo), Mochi (cobbler), Roshni (Light). He was posting anti-government, anti-institutions and anti-Islam noxious posts on these accounts. All his posts were highly toxic. Large numbers of complaints had been registered against him demanding closure of these injurious accounts and taking strict action against the culprit (s). The operator of these dubious accounts was however too cunning to get caught. He would keep changing the names of his accounts to remain safe from the hand of law. He had hired the services of a cyber expert, who helped him in keeping his identity hidden. It took the investigating agencies lot of time and effort to trace the operator Salman operating the three accounts.

Salman projected himself as an intellectual and a poet, but it was gathered that he was employed as a teacher in Fatima Jinnah Women University Rawalpindi. It implied that he had been injecting hatred in the minds of students. Further investigations revealed that it was not only Salman but a whole network involved in clandestine activities and was operating from abroad. Most of the operators are based in foreign countries. The goal of this network is to give strength to anti-Islam lobbies/groups in Pakistan and it is also in collusion with separatist groups in Baluchistan.

The United Nations and international human rights organizations including Human Rights Watch voiced concern about the disappearances. Human Rights lawyer Jibran Nasir has filed an application with Supreme Court requesting judicial intervention. Vested groups linked with social media and certain political parties are making noise over the missing five activists and pressurizing the government to locate them at the earliest. They are also highly upset over the dismissal of a columnist writing articles against premier institutions in English newspaper. He is now fanning poison through social media from abroad. Earlier on, they had made lot of noise over putting columnist Cyril on ECL on account of writing a slanderous article in Dawn newspaper which was a breach of security. Instead of taking him to task for writing a fake story whether fed to him or at his own, the government was grilled for the security leak.

Hussain Haqqani, former ambassador in Washington, is among the sympathizers of dissident bloggers and he is expressing his deep anguish over their disappearance. He was the manufacturer of infamous Memo which he had presented to the then CJCSC Admiral Mike Mullen in October 2011. The Memo was a certificate to harness Pakistan’s military establishment, place the ISI under Ministry of Interior, open up nuclear program and then roll it back, and to allow the NATO to barge in freely into FATA. Another fascist liberal and pro-India journalist Imtiaz Alam who recently was in the forefront to promote Indian theme of ‘isolation of Pakistan’, has the brashness to write in his article “Wages of freedom in a state of inquisition” in The News dated January 12, 2016 that the Memo was manufactured by Gen Kayani and Lt Gen Shuja Pasha to divert attention from the humiliation of “Get Osama bin Laden stealth Mission” on May 2, 2011. He forgets that by then the fallout effects of the Abbottabad episode had settled down. He also ignores the fact that the US and not Pakistan was humiliated on account of stabbing its close ally in the back. But for Kayani-Pasha pro-active stance, Haqqani would not have abandoned his office of ambassador. Later on, when the noose of Supreme Court had tightened around his neck, President Zardari and PM Gilani helped him to flee to the safe shores of USA. Since then, he has been spitting venom against Pakistan.