Facebook Disables Hafiz Saeed Led Milli Muslim League’s Accounts Amidst Elections

The general elections in Pakistan are due on 25 July. Ahead of the elections, Facebook has disabled numerous accounts and pages of the Islamist Milli Muslim League (MML) led by the master mind of Mumbai terror attack Hafiz Saeed, according to a report on Sunday.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had said that it was his priority to ensure Facebook supports positive discourse and prevents interference in the upcoming elections in Pakistan, India, Brazil, Mexico and other countries.

Recently, Facebook officials contacted the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and offered help to local authorities to identify and remove fake pages of different political parties, the Express Tribune reported.

In April 2018, the US placed the MML on its list of foreign terror organisations for its links with the Lashkar-e-Taiba. The ECP has also not recognised MML as political party, hence, Saeed and his 200 candidates are to contest the polls under the banner of a little-known party, the Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek (AAT), which is already registered with the election commission.

MML spokesperson Tabish Qayyum told journalists that Facebook has removed numerous accounts of their election candidates and workers without giving any reason and that it is a gross violation of its own policy and sanction on freedom of expression.

“Elections are round-the-corner and all political parties are using social media for electioneering. Deleting MML candidates and workers’ accounts on a particular time is injustice,” he added.

“All political parties are using social media to spread their message. Voters are being attracted by posters and video messages but the MML has been denied this facility without any reason,” he said.

Zuckerberg in recent statements has said that after identification of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, Facebook has successfully deployed new Artificial Intelligence tools that removed tens of thousands of fake accounts.