Summons, Enquiries, FIRs, Detentions and Arrests in Connection with Social Media Posts

The table below is based on information available in news reports, online and legal documents. It records incidents between 2017-2019, where legal action under existing laws has been taken against individuals on the basis of their social media posts, which includes issuance of summons, initiation of enquiries, registration of FIRs, detentions and arrests.

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Sr No Date Law(s) Summons, Enquiries, FIRs, Detentions and Arrests
1 17 March 2017 Karachi: Lawyer Jibran Nasir summoned by the FIA U/S 160 of the CrPC
2 17 May 2017 Islamabad: Salar Kakar, a member of the PTI’s social media team, summoned by the FIA U/S 160 of the CrPC in Enquiry No. 23/2017. Kakar was detained by the Counter-Terrorism Wing of the FIA and asked to submit his laptop and phone.
3 18 May 2017 Islamabad: Journalist Taha Siddiqui received a phone call from an FIA officer instructing him to appear for questioning at the FIA station.

Siddiqui moved the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against intimidation and harassment by the FIA. The IHC issued notices to the FIA to appear before court on May 29, restraining them from harassing the petitioner and instructing them to proceed in accordance with the law. Despite court orders, the FIA issued a summon directing Siddiqui to appear before them for questioning, failure to do which would carry legal consequences

4 20 May 2017 Islamabad: Member of PTI’s social media team, Owais Khan, taken into custody by the FIA for an alleged “violation of the cybercrime law.”
5 21 May 2017 Islamabad: The FIA summoned and detained six individuals for questioning regarding their social media posts allegedly “against the armed forces and state institutions.”
6 23 May 2017 Gujranwala/Islamabad/Peshawar: Umair Talat reportedly picked up from Gujran­wala and brought to the FIA’s headquarters in Islamabad.

In a separate incident, PTI social media activist Furqan Kakakhel reported the party office was ransacked over the weekend and DSLR cameras, USBs and memory cards were missing.

7 30 May 2017 PECA Lahore: FIR 53/2017 lodged against Adnan Afzal Qureshi U/S 20 and 24 PECA R/W PPC 419, 500, 506. The FIA claimed the activist was arrested for allegedly posting “anti-military tweets” and using “abusive language against military personnel and political leaders.”
8 05 June 2017 Islamabad: FIA identified 27 people allegedly engaged in “anti-army propaganda” out of which seven were called in for questioning, their electronic equipment was seized and sent for forensic analysis – without a formal charge.
9 25 June 2017 PECA Quetta: Journalist Zafarullah Achakzai, an employee of Daily Qudrat, was arrested for allegedly posting “anti-army” content on social media. He was granted bail on July 4 against a bond amount of Rs. 80,000.
10 19 October 2017 PECA/PPC Rawalpindi/Islamabad: Two PML-N social media activists namely Anwar Adil and Wajid Rasul Malik were arrested by the FIA for allegedly posting “defamatory material against judges of the Supreme Court as well as members of the armed forces and the government.” FIR No. 15/2017 was lodged against Anwar Adil Tanoli, charged U/S Sections 9, 10(a), 20 of PECA R/W Sections 500, 501, 505, 109, 34 PPC. Two female party workers of the PML-N’s social media wing, in a letter addressed to the then Minister for Interior Ahsan Iqbal, reported harassment by the FIA.
11 11 July 2018 PECA Dera Ismail Khan/Rawalpindi: Taken into custody on 05 June 2018, FIR No. 31/2018 was lodged against Hayat Preghal U/S PECA 9, 10 R/W PPC 500, 109 for allegedly posting content “critical of Pakistani state policies” on social media.

On 27 September 2018, Preghal was granted bail by the Islamabad High Court on the condition that he surrender his passport to the court, have his name placed on the Exit Control List (ECL), while the FIA monitored all his activities on social media.

12 19 September 2018 ATA/PPC Islamabad: FIR 203/2018 lodged against former Senator Faisal Raza Abidi registered U/S 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) R/W Sections 500, 501, 505 (II), 228, 121 and 109 of the PPC registered for allegedly using “highly insulting and inappropriate language against the chief justice” on a web show.
13 19 September 2018 PECA/PPC Islamabad: FIR No. 05/2018 lodged against former Senator Faisal Raza Abidi, Hans Masroor, the owner of a web channel Naya Pakistan, and the producer of the channel Ahsan Saleem U/S 10(a), 11 and 20 of the Prevention of Electronic Crime Act, 2016 R/W Sections 109 and 509 of the Pakistan Penal Code, for allegedly running “anti-judiciary” content on their channel.
14 26 September 2018 PECA/PPC Islamabad: FIR No. 06/2018 lodged U/S 10(a), 11 and 20 of the Prevention of Electronic Crime Act, 2016 R/W Sections 109 and 506 of the Pakistan Penal Code against unidentified individuals for allegedly uploading “false and malicious material” against High Court proceedings the judges of the Islamabad High Court.
15 4 February 2019 PPC/MPO/Punjab Sound Systems (Regulation) Ordinance, 2015 Multan: Four men were arrested for allegedly delivering “hate speech of a sectarian nature and defaming members of the government.” The case was registered U/S PPC 500, 506, 109, MPO 14, 16 and Punjab Sound Systems (Regulation) Ordinance, 2015 3/6. Allegedly, two of the suspects recorded the speech and uploaded it on Facebook and other social media platforms.
16 08 February 2019 PECA Lahore: FIR No. 24/2019 U/S 11 and 20 of PECA R/W 123-A and 500 PPC lodged against Rizwan Razi for allegedly posting “defamatory and obnoxious” content against the judiciary, government institutions and intelligence agencies.

A magisterial court on 10 February 2019 granted bail to journalist Rizwan-ur-Rehman Razi, declining FIA’s request to remand him into its custody for 10 days.

17 15 February 2019 Telegraph Act Vehari: FIR No. 129/2019 lodged against Azhar Hussain U/S 25 of the Telegraph Act for allegedly putting up “satirical posts about Imran Khan and Army Chief General Bajwa.”
18 16 March 2019 PPC/MPO Bahawalpur: FIR No. 158/2019 lodged against Asim Azhar U/S PPC 124-A and MPO 16 for allegedly posting “anti-government” and “anti-army” comments on Facebook.
19 28 March 2019 Islamabad/Rawalpindi: A letter by Director NR3C, dated 13 March 2019 ordered all additional directors of the FIA in Rawalpindi to launch inquiries against six journalists/social media activists, namely Matiullah Jan, Murtaza Solangi, Azaz Syed, Ammar Masood, Umer Cheema and Ahmed Waqas Goraya, for using the picture of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi as their display picture, which was “disrespectful” towards a “visiting dignity/guest.” The following groups and its members were allegedly “found most active on social media against Mohammad Bin Salman’s visit to Pakistan: Majlis-i-Wahdat-i-Muslimeen (MWM), Imamia Students Organization (ISO), Hizbul Tahrir Pak and Tameer-i-Watan Party.
20 06 April 2019 PECA/PPC Karachi: FIR No. 06/2019 lodged against Shahzeb Jillani U/S 10(a), 11 and 20 PECA R/W PPC 34. 109, 500 for allegedly making “defamatory remarks against  institutions of Pakistan” on a news programme. Jillani secured pre-arrest bail. On 15 April 2019, the court adjourned the bail confirmation hearing to 17 April.

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