Trump puzzled over ‘threatening messages’, seeks assistance from FIA (Pakistan), investigations underway

Trump puzzled over ‘threatening messages’, seeks assistance from FIA (Pakistan), investigations underway

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ISLAMABAD: The Unit­ed States has sought Islamabad’s help in tracing threats to US President Donald Trump originating from Pakistan, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) informed the National Assembly Standing Commit­tee on Government Assura­nces on Monday, regretting that it was hard to track down people who posted blasphemous material on social media.

A top FIA official informed the NA body about US’s request, as well as complaints about social media posts depicting Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan as Lord Shiva.

FIA Cyber Crimes direc­tor retired Capt. Muhammad Shoaib told the lawmakers that it was hard to track the culprits behind the posts.

He said the US authorities had last week contacted the FIA with a complaint that some unknown and unidentified person had threatened Mr. Trump and sought help to identify the person who had sent the message. However, all attempts were in vain.

After the committee meeting, Mr. Shoaib told media that the US authorities had been advised to contact the FIA through diplomatic channels — Foreign Office. “We will start investigation after getting a request through diplomatic channels, and after identifying the person who threatened Mr. Trump, we will provide information through the same channel,” he said.

Earlier, speaking on the blasphemy complaint against depiction of Mr. Khan as a Hindu deity, Mr. Shoaib said that as many as 17 accounts had been identified from where the pictures had been posted. About 15 of them were based in India, while only two of them were from Pakistan, he said, adding that of the two accounts in Pakistan, one had already deleted the post but the other still possessed it.

Mr. Shoaib said that since social media was controlled from the US, they had forwarded a request to the US Webmaster for information about the user who had initially uploaded the picture.

MNA Ramesh Lal believed it was unfortunate to have no progress in the matter.

MNA Lal Chand Malhi said the account, which had posted the picture, had one million followers, and suggested that the FIA take steps to trace the user at the earliest.

However, Mr. Shoaib informed the committee that operators of social media sites did not share information about users, especially politicians.

“We can only block Facebook in Pakistan but it will create a problem,” he said.

Committee chairperson Umerzadi Tiwana direct­ed the FIA and the PTA to take up the matter again.

“If the issue is not addressed, as a last option we can go for closure of social media because we cannot put the lives of people at risk,” she said.

She directed the PTA and FIA to submit a report within a week.

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