Home Latest News PMLN, PTI at Odds over ‘Anti-Martyr’ Social Media Campaign

PMLN, PTI at Odds over ‘Anti-Martyr’ Social Media Campaign

Information minister warns of legal action against alleged campaign maligning martyrs, as PTI leader dismisses criticism as ‘misleading propaganda’

by Staff Report

File photo, courtesy PID

Information Minister Ataullah Tarar on Sunday warned the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) of legal action over an alleged social media campaign against the martyrs of a terror attack in Mir Ali a day earlier, as the opposition party dismissed the criticism as “misleading propaganda.”

On Saturday, the military’s media wing announced that seven troops, including two officers, had embraced martyrdom after militants targeted a paramilitary camp in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan. All six attackers—affiliated with the Hafiz Gul Bahadur Group—were killed during a clearance operation.

Immediately after the announcement, some elements on social media—many of whom claimed to either be affiliated with or supportive of the PTI—started deriding the martyrs and their sacrifice. However, it remains unclear if this was initiated at the PTI’s behest or was an independent action taken by some of its supporters. Referring to this alleged campaign, Tarar said a “smear campaign” against martyrs was unacceptable. “It has not only hurt the sentiments of families of martyrs but also the entire nation,” he said, warning the people responsible for the “vile” campaign were being identified and strict action would be taken against them.

“The PTI disrespects martyrs,” he said, citing the examples of the Lasbela helicopter crash in 2022 and the May 9 riots when state institutions were attacked and martyrs’ memorials vandalized. To a question, he claimed many of the accounts involved in the “campaign” were operated from outside Pakistan, but noted several were operated from within the country and legal action would be taken against them.

Echoing Tarar’s views, Defense Minister Khawaja Asif told a press conference in Sialkot that there was “no doubt” that people deriding martyrs were “in touch with” terrorists. Referring to the PTI, he said the loss of power and the love of power had become so intense that “you are making fun of those who sacrificed their lives for Pakistan. I think there can be no greater enmity with Pakistan.” Similarly, he said, the PTI’s act of writing to the IMF to demand it not extend a fresh loan to Pakistan was akin to “anti-nationalism.”

Rejecting the government’s view, PTI leader Asad Qaiser posted on X, formerly Twitter, claimed his party had always acknowledged the sacrifices of soldiers defending the country’s borders. “Those using soldiers’ martyrdom for their political gains are not the well-wishers of the nation,” he claimed. “Khawaja Asif and Ata Tarar’s misleading propaganda about the Pakistan Army’s martyrs is regrettable,” he added while speaking to journalists.

Similarly, PTI leader Barrister Saif accused the ruling party of dragging martyrs into politics for personal gains. He claimed the PTI was a patriotic party and denied its involvement in any campaign maligning martyrs.

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