As many as 27 persons have been identified for being involved in ‘anti-army propaganda’ by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

FIA will submit its report on the misuse of social media to ‘malign’ the country’s armed forces in the next two weeks to the interior ministry.

According to sources in the FIA, the agency has identified 27 people involved in ‘anti-army propaganda’. Seven of them were summoned for questioning, after which their electronic equipment was seized and sent for a forensic analysis.

On May 21, the FIA had arrested and later released six suspects for allegedly defaming the armed forces and state institutions. However, the agency has not formally charged them or made any arrests under the charges of maligning the armed forces.

The sources also said that all those identified have a political affiliation and belong to different parts of the country. The agency’s cybercrime wing helped identify the accused and the counter-terrorism wing was used to apprehend the suspects.

Security officials believe that certain pages on social media, operating outside Pakistan, are spreading ‘anti-state propaganda’.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had also ordered authorities to tighten the noose around elements that were using social media to spread hate speech and blasphemy. He had termed blasphemy an unpardonable offence, while directing the interior and telecom ministries to nab the culprits.

On May 14, the Interior Minister had ordered the Cybercrime Wing of FIA to take immediate action against all those ‘disrespecting’ the army.

While issuing directives, Nisar had stated that the Constitution makes it clear that security and defence matters cannot be subjected to criticism and no citizen should indulge in any such activity that negatively impacts the prestige, repute and respect of the armed forces.

Nisar had issued his directives when the Dawn Leaks controversy was settled between the government and the army. Some people had taken to social media to criticise the army and General Qamar Bajwa over settling the issue with the government.