ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said on Monday an online smear campaign against the military and its officers in the wake of an army helicopter crash would be investigated, as a team was set up by the government to probe the “negative propaganda.”
A Pakistani military helicopter carrying a senior commander and five others crashed on a mountain during a flood relief operation last Monday and all onboard were killed. Following the incident, an online smear campaign targeted the deceased officers and included hashtags against the military.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif called the campaign “horrifying” and said it reflected that the minds of young Pakistanis were being poisoned. The army’s media wing also rejected the “regretful” social media trends, saying they had caused anguish among the families of those who had died as well as in the army as an institution.
On Sunday, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) said it was forming a joint investigation team (JIT) to probe the smear campaign.
“A joint inquiry team has been formed to investigate the issue of negative propaganda campaign on social media after the Pakistan Army helicopter crash,” the notification said.
Members of the team include Additional Director General Cyber Crime Muhammad Jafar, Director Cybercrime Waqaruddin Syed, Additional Director Ayaz Khan and Assistant Director Imran Haider
Speaking to reporters on Monday afternoon, Sanaullah said the nation had “rejected” the propaganda against the victims of the helicopter crash.
“There is no segment of society which shares these sentiments,” the minister said.
Speaking to Geo News last week, ISPR Director-General Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar said the entire armed forces were “distressed” since the helicopter accident.
“The propaganda has caused immense pain, particularly to the families of the martyrs,” he said, urging the nation to unite against those spreading negative propaganda and rumors.
“Insensitive behavior is unacceptable and should be condemned on every platform.”