Critique with intellect, Imran Khan tells abusive PTI supporters on Facebook, Twitter

June 8, 2018

Head of the PTI, Imran Khan. Photo: AFP

They are infamously referred to as trolls. They are the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf supporters who have flooded social media with vitriol if they find anyone criticising or even disagreeing with the party line or leader Imran Khan. But now, Mr Khan himself took to Twitter to tell them, no more. 

Yasir Cheema, who tweeted the video, wrote: “A request by @ImranKhanPTI to PTI supporters. Suggestion: Remove PTI from your bio if you think its hard for you to follow his request.”

“If there’s any anchor, journalist or columnist who speaks against PTI, please critique it intellectually,” Mr Khan says in the video. “Don’t use abusive language as it damages the image of PTI. Use your point of view to disagree with someone.”

The move comes the same day as when Opposition Leader in the Senate Sherry Rehman tweeted to NUST, saying that it should revoke the degree of a student who demanded “sexual torture” on Gul Bukhari.

Political analyst Gul Bukhari was abducted and released on Wednesday. As news of her abduction spread on social media, a Twitter user, Mursaleen, tweeted: “Sexual torture would be perfect for this shi* #GulBukhari”.

The tweets on his account are protected. His bio describes him as “Young Civil Engineer #PTI #PakArmy, Strictly against Traitors”. Nighat Dad, the founder of Digital Rights Foundation, tweeted screenshots of his tweets. That is when they caught the attention of senior PPP leader Sherry Rehman.

Ms Rehman tweeted: “Irrespective of whom he is targeting I assume @OfficialNUST will revoke degree and @PTI (which is part of his twitter Identity)will move against such an open call to bloodlust and torture. There must be no impunity, or social or professional tolerance for such heinous hate speech”

It is common for many Twitter users in Pakistan to hurl insults and threats of sexual nature at women who they disagree with. Strict cybercrime laws exist in the country but the cumbersome procedure to file and pursue a complaint prevents people from registering cases.