Prepared by friends of Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa in Pakistan – Pak Tea House supports freedom of expression and would like to alert everyone that Dr Siddiqa might be in danger.
Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa is a Pakistani civilian military scientist, geo-strategist, author, former bureaucrat and political commentator. She is the author of Pakistan’s Arms Procurement and Military Buildup, 1979-99: In Search of a Policy (2001) and Military Inc: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy, (2007).
Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa has recently reported on Indian surgical strikes in Pakistan dismissing the extreme narratives of both countries while supporting a middle ground truth based on her sources in the region.
Over the past many days a vile, deliberate and dangerous campaign has been carried out with malicious intent, because of which many friends and well-wishers of Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa feel concerned about her safety and have been compelled to prepare a record of online harassment. Many of her well-wishers are of the view that the campaign seems to have been orchestrated by elements close to the establishment of Pakistan.
This compilation is a working document and will be updated as needed. Input for this document has been sent by concerned Pakistanis around the world.
Summary of coordinated campaign against Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa
1) Lies started on blog and websites which hold pro Pakistani establishment views
2) Doctored images and fabricated facebook posts starting from pro-establishment accounts
3) Insinuations and direct allegations that Dr. Ayesha is an agent of an enemy intelligence agency and somehow linked with terrorism in the country.
4) Incitement to violence and hate
5) Calls for physical harm, death and punishment
Implications of these comments
Pakistan ranks 8th from the bottom on rule of law indicators, according to the World Justice Project. Even below countries such as Sierra Leone, Russia, China and Kenya. Many crimes committed in the country are motivated by hate and ideology. In the past few years, high-profile voices have been targeted by violence after accusations have been made against the individuals of being ‘anti-Pakistan’ or ‘anti-Islam’. Some victims, or their family members have made suggestions or accused the elements in the state of Pakistan were either complicit or involved in the crimes against Pakistani journalists and writers. In 2011, journalist Saleem Shehzad was killed. In 2014, Raza Rumi was targeted (he survived but his driver died in the attack). Also, in 2014, Hamid Mir was shot. He survived but still has three bullets in his body. In 2015, Sabeen Mahmud was killed in Karachi. Non state actors have been involved in some attacks but Mir accused the intelligence apparatus for the attack.
Government of Pakistan must immediately act in accordance with law of the country. The actions of these individuals may be criminal under the The Cyber Crimes Act.
Appropriate measures need to be taken for safety and security of Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa and other academics, scholars and voices in Pakistan.
Zaid Zaman Hamid:
Zaid Zaman Hamid incites hate in Pakistan against liberals and has been accused of taking money from Pakistani Intelligence Agencies, according to his ex-staff officer and media coordinator.
Ayaz is a who recently started his blog that is full of distortions. The writer has also targeted Pakistani journalist Cyril Almeida. Disconnected pictures, disjointed facts have been connected to create a false sense of reality, in an attempt to discredit the scholar.
A website claiming to be part of the “The CJ Media group” (with an empty about me section) and claims to have started in 2016. No public record of The CJ Media Group exist, after a quick search of the available public directories. The owner has also hidden their whole record using Whois Privacy Corp service.
The CJ post made a video that is now being circulated on social media. The video is based on the blog written by Azhar Ayaz and has gone viral on facebook, twitter as well as through whatsapp in Pakistan.
Social media campaign:
A well coordinated social media campaign under hashtag #AyeshaTheDrifter was started. The following people circulated images of an unknown origin. Many of the accounts of females appear to be fake profiles.
Images being circulated:
Captioned images and graphics have been prepared and later circulated by the above group, which suggests that this is part of a planned campaign to target Dr Siddiqa. The graphics below are untrue (Dr Siddiqa denies it) and are designed to lead the unsuspecting mind to a false conclusion.
Images being circulated:
Captioned images and graphics have been prepared and later circulated by the above group, which suggests that this is part of a coordinated campaign to target Dr Siddiqa. All of the below are untrue and designed to lead the unsuspecting mind to a false conclusion.
This online harassment must stop. The government should make it happen.