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Pakistan

FIA officer suspended after Shireen Mazari's daughter attacks him on Twitter

“Service of Muhammad Asif Iqbal, assistant director/senior investigator (BPS-17) cybercrime reporting centre Lahore is hereby placed under suspension with immediate effect till further orders,” FIA notification reads.
Published October 2, 2020

A Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) cybercrime wing officer, who registered an FIR against singer Meesha Shafi and eight others for their alleged involvement in a smear campaign against singer-actor Ali Zafar, was suspended from his duty after Shireen Mazari's daughter attacked him on Twitter.

Several questions were raised when the FIA Director (cybercrime wing) Amir Farooqi issued a notification, suspending Muhammad Asif Iqbal from his duty yesterday.

The notification reads, “Service of Muhammad Asif Iqbal, assistant director/senior investigator (BPS-17) cybercrime reporting centre Lahore is hereby placed under suspension with immediate effect till further orders.”

As per Dawn, Neither a show-cause notice was issued to Mr Iqbal, nor any reason given for his suspension.

The publication citing its sources revealed that Iqbal was suspended on the basis of a tweet he made to explain Section 20 of the Prevention of Electronic Media Crimes Act 2016, related to the case against Shafi and others.

Mr Iqbal’s tweet reads, “Whoever publicly exhibits false information that harms the reputation of a person, is [committing] a crime U/S 20 of Cybercrime Act.”

Furthermore, it is alleged that a minister’s daughter accused Iqbal of being a spokesperson for Ali Zafar on social media and spearheaded a campaign against the officer.

She tweeted: “Women, listen to what the State is telling us: we hear you but we really don’t care. As if the FIRs aren’t bad enough, the Assistant Director, FIA cybercrime Lahore is basically Ali Zafar’s personal spokesperson.”

As per the newspaper “some influential persons” in Islamabad played a role in getting the FIA officer suspended.

Asif Iqbal has been very active on social media as he used to create awareness regarding cybercrime offences and laws.

In November 2018, Ali Zafar had filed a complaint with the FIA cybercrime wing, alleging that many social media accounts were posting “threats and defamatory material” against him. He provided details of some Twitter and Facebook accounts to support his claim.

The actor had alleged that many fake accounts had been created to launch a smear campaign against him weeks before Shafi leveled allegation of sexual harassment against him in April, 2018.

He stated that most of these fake accounts were allegedly linked to Ms Shafi and her lawyer.

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