YouTuber Haidar Raza Mehdi (Left), Washington based journalist Shaheen Sehbai (top right) and London based Adil Raza (bottom), all Imran Khan supporters are in Pak military’s cross-hairs
In its bid to dismantle ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan’s overseas network, Pakistan’s military has gone after influential YouTuber Adil Raja—a bullhorn for sowing divisions and unrest within the armed forces.
Raja, a top propagandist for Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party was arrested in London. He has been subsequently released on bail.
The News International quoted Raja’s lawyer as saying that, “In Pakistan, a serious terrorism-related warrant was issued against him. Such allegations are very serious. I came to know on Tuesday that he has been arrested by the police. In the manner Adil Raja has been arrested, I believe it falls under anti-terrorism laws. This doesn’t mean he’s guilty of terrorism but this means the UK had to act against Adil Raja based on information and intelligence they received (from Pakistan).
Adil Raja released after inquiry , As per his lawyer Mehtab Aziz, “he was detained on suspicion of encouragement to terrorism, his devices were taken away by police and he still does not have access to communicate”. pic.twitter.com/QS9OdMuncc
— Koustuv 🇮🇳 🧭 (@srdmk01) June 14, 2023
The targeting of Raja, a retired Major of the Pak army is significant as he has been spearheading a vicious but impactful campaign to create unrest in the rank and file of the Pak army, particularly after the announcement of Gen. Asim Munir as new Chief of Army Staff (COAS) last year.
Raja is not alone but runs a network of 10-12 YouTubers. His Infowars network includes Haider Raza Mehdi, Wajahat Saeed Khan, veteran journalist Shaheen Sehbai, Sabir Shakir and Moeed Pirzada.
Incidentally Washington-based scribe Shaheen Sehbai as well as Mehdi, Khan, and Raja — had been booked inside Pakistan for inciting violence during the May 9 protests.
Adil Raja and Haider Mehdi have especially infuriated the military, after they has had apparently claimed that six corps commanders of the Army had resigned and they were seeking Gen. Asim Munir’s resignation following the May 9 attacks. The YouTubers have been accused of guiding mobs to target various military installations including Jinnah House, the Lahore Corps commander’s residence.
India Narrative has learnt that the accused have roots within a section of Pakistan’s military establishment. Apparently, all of them were groomed by Inter Services Press Relations (ISPR), especially during the time when Lt. Gen (Retd)Asim Bajwa was at the helm.
Shaheen Sehbai and Wajahat S Khan are in America, Major Adil Raja in London and Haider Mehdi lives in Canada. They were Assets of Agencies amongst those who were tasked to project Imran Khan as an Imandaar “Leader” and to ridicule Nawaz Sharif, AAZ, BB and other Politicians. pic.twitter.com/kcVJPdhct6
— Ayub Minhas (@daribaalam) June 12, 2023
Subsequently, Bajwa was accused of massive corruption when he steered the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as its chairman.
Bajwa has reportedly been running the Papa John’s Pizza chain worth billions of dollars in the US using funds accumulated during his tenure as CPEC chairman.
— Arifa Noor (@arifanoor72) August 6, 2021
The name of Lt. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, a former DG ISPR, and currently corps commander Quetta has also cropped up in creating the inforwar network. Though Lt. Gen. Ghafoor along former DG ISI, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Faiz Hameed have been known as staunch supporters of Khan, the Quetta Corp commander has apparently been pardoned by COAS Gen. Asif Munir after he pledged allegiance to the Army Chief and agreed to distance himself from PTI ideology.
The crackdown on Khan’s propaganda network includes registration of cases by Islamabad police of anchor-persons Sabir Shakir, Moeed Pirzada, and Akbar Hussain under sections of terrorism and sedition for alleged involvement in the May 9 rebellion.