A citizen filed a petition in the Lahore High Court on Wednesday, seeking action against PTI Chairman Imran Khan, PTI Central Punjab president Dr Yasmin Rashid and others for allegedly running a “malicious campaign” against state institutions. The petition, which was filed by Advocate Mian Dawood on behalf of citizen Akhtar Ali, will be heard by Justice Mohammad Sajid Mehmood Sethi today.
Imran and “several members of his erstwhile federal cabinet as well as Punjab provincial cabinet have started a targeted campaign on social media as well as on electronic and print media against state institutions including the judiciary, ECP and armed forces on the assumption that the state institutions are actually behind the ouster of the PTI from government benches,” it stated.
“The PTI chairman and his political cohorts are continuously issuing various unfounded, provocative, highly defamatory and derogatory statements in public interviews, political rallies or through various other means, in both print and electronic media, including social media, which are designed and calculated to tarnish the public image and severely harm the good reputation of the state institutions.”
The petition referred to a clip shared by the PTI’s social media accounts in which Dr Rashid “defamed, disrespected and blamed the state institutions, especially ECP and armed forces by stating that the state institutions … are planning to rig the by-elections scheduled to be held on July 17 on various seats in Punjab without giving any proof which is against the Constitution, Pemra Ordinance 2002 and Peca 2016”.
The PTI’s official social media accounts were being used for the malicious targeted campaign, the petition claimed, adding that Azhar Mashwani, the former focal person for digital media in Punjab and anchorpersons Imran Riaz Khan and Arshad Sharif, among other people, were involved in the campaign.
The malicious content was available on social media platforms due to the inaction of state functionaries, it added. “Such nefarious campaigns on social media … create an atmosphere of harassment and nuisance among the public all over the country and degrade the respect and honour of the nation of Pakistan.