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Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah speaks during a presser in Islamabad. —  AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Wednesday announced that the government will hold consultations with journalists and other stakeholders regarding social media amendments.

The minister’s comments come a day after the government armed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) with powers to clamp down on propaganda against state institutions on social media through an amendment to the FIA Act, 1974.

Addressing a presser, the minister said that if the bill imposes curbs on freedom of expression, it will be withdrawn.

“There are certain things on social media which need to be controlled. Personal lives of people are being harmed through social media,” he said, deeming it a “serious matter”.

The minister underlined fears about freedom of expression being harmed and, therefore, invited media and journalistic organisations to guide the government regarding the matter.

“There will be a debate in the Parliament regarding the transfer of authority to the FIA related to social media,” Sanaullah said speaking on the government’s decision.

On long march

Commenting on the PTI’s long march, the interior minister said that the matter of the party’s Chairman Imran Khan in Islamabad is being heard in the court. “He will be allowed entry if he gives assurance to the court.”

Responding to a question on whether the government would negotiate despite being stopped by PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, the minister said: “Negotiations are always encouraged in politics. No politician refuses dialogue. But when we talk about negotiations, Imran Khan resorts to abuses.”

Criticising Khan for his reluctance toward negotiations, Sanaullah said that talks are held with politicians and the PTI chief is not one.

“Imran Khan is a political terrorist,” the minister remarked during the press conference.

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