ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) on Sunday condemned the arrest of social media activists under cyber crime laws. “The increasing misuse by the state of the cyber crime law as evidenced in the intimidation and harassment of social media activists for allegedly criticising national security policies is a matter of serious concern and must be stopped,” PPP Spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar said in a statement. “The misuse and overuse of blanket orders issued last week by the Interior Ministry to take action against social media platforms in the name of national security is not acceptable. It is disturbing that in a short span of time, nearly 1,000 cases have been registered against social media platforms. In addition, provisions of the cyber crime legislation have been arbitrarily interpreted to impose new restrictions on the right to freedom of expression in the name of national security,” he said. He said that freedom of expression was already under threat from non-state actors in the name of faith and ideology and by preventing discussion on misapplication of faith related laws. “It is now increasingly threatened by the state also in the name of ‘national security’ disregarding freedom of expression guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution,” he said. Silencing political dissent in the name of security or ideology is not acceptable, he said. “There is also need for appropriate legislation under Article 19 so that freedom of expression was not unduly stifled behind vague and undefined terminology. Publicly voicing concerns about national security narrative of the state is not undermining the security. On the contrary, by presenting alternate opinions it strengthens national security and should be welcomed,” he said. “It is unfortunate that the government has chosen to respond to increasing opposition to its policies by stifling dissent in the name of national security. The policy of clamping curbs on social media platforms and freedom of expression is undemocratic, against the Constitution and is counterproductive and must be reversed,” he said. Social media: Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) has taken immediate action against those ridiculing the Pakistan Army on social media and took many into custody. According to sources, the Prime Minster’s House seems anxious over the arrest of Social Media Advisor Dr Faisal Ranjha, who was active on social media on the behest of key personalities belonging to the incumbent government. Sources added the government had not yet requested the release Dr Faisal Ranjha. “Ruling circles are of the view that the news leaks issue will be solved if the said social media adviser is to be interrogated,” sources said. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had directed the Cyber Crimes Wing of the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) to take immediate action against those ridiculing the army or its officers under the garb of freedom of expression on social media.