Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Pakistanis warned criticism of armed forces 'serious crime', to be dealt with "sternly and indiscriminately"


Many Pakistanis have taken to social media in recent days to attack the army's top brass. The new chief of staff, Lt-Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, has been a target of many of the barbs.

Times of Ahmad | News Watch | UK Desk
Source/Credit: BBC News
By BBC News | May 15, 2017

Pakistanis have been told not to criticise the armed forces on social media, as the government tries to end a damaging spat with commanders.

The interior ministry warned against "activity that undermines the dignity, reputation and honour of the army".

Its statement came two days after TV channels received similar instructions.

The military was accused of undermining democracy when it rejected the findings of an inquiry by the prime minister's office into a row over press leaks.

The so-called "Dawn leaks" affair began in October when the Dawn newspaper reported on tensions between government and military officials.

What have people been saying?

Many Pakistanis have taken to social media in recent days to attack the army's top brass. The new chief of staff, Lt-Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, has been a target of many of the barbs.

One poster tweeted a picture of his predecessor, Raheel Sharif, with the comment: "You are being missed."

Another tweet said: "I want to stand with the army, but somebody please tell me where the army is standing."

Such comments prompted Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to accuse some Pakistanis of "criticising and maligning the armed forces on social media without any reason".

He warned that it was a serious crime and anyone found doing it would be dealt with "sternly and indiscriminately". Humiliating the army or its officers "under the cover of free speech is intolerable", he added.


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