Social media users in Pakistan have lambasted Pakistani mainstream media for claiming that 'security analyst' and hardliner Zaid Hamid has been sentenced to 'eight years in jail and 1,200 lashes' by Saudi Arabia for criticising the kingdom in Medina.
Reports of Zaid Hamid's arrest have been doing the rounds since 1 July, after Daily Pakistan claimed that he was punished by the Saudi government for his comments.
Daily Pakistan also reported that Hamid was arrested along with his wife.
A day later, on 2 July, Dawn reported that Saudi authorities have denied a request by the Pakistani embassy for consular access to Zaid Hamid, who was arrested in Medina.
However, another report had a contradictory version.
"Our Embassy has officially requested the host authorities to convey factual position in view of media reports about the sentence given to Mr. Hamid, provide consular access and intimate charges against him. Response of the concerned authorities of Saudi Arabia is awaited," said foreign office spokesperson Qazi M. Khalilullah, reports ARY News.
Social media users are furious with the Pakistani media for reporting the punishment, saying it's 'fake' news.
Twitter user abuzar @abuzarmasood said: "All the news related to the punishment of Zaid Hamid was fake. It was just a propaganda from Indian Media."
Another user posted, "100 lashes for the Media outlets who posted the 'Copy Paste' fake story on Zaid Hamid from a Dodgy Website?"
Who is Zaid Hamid?
Zaid Hamid is a Pakistani political commentator and a strong believer in establishing Sharia law in the country. He is also a vehement critic of India and blames it for the destablisation of Pakistan.
In December 2008, in a TV show, he claimed that Mumbai's 26/11 attacks were in fact planned by "Hindu Zionists" and "Western Zionists", including Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, TOI had reported then.
In an interview with a Pakistani TV channel, Hamid said that terrorists involved in the November 2008 attacks were not from Pakistan, but Hindus. He went on to claim that India was attempting to mimick the Americans, who carried out 9/11.
"The Americans executed the 9/11 attack perfectly. They managed the media very well. The Indians tried to repeat the formula but goofed up. The idiots made a complete mess of it," Hamid had said.
Fe'reeha Idrees @Fereeha
The news about Zaid Hamid sentencing was falsely reported on the media. According to the family, it's not true.
Mehreen Zahra-Malik @mehreenzahra
Mehreen Zahra-Malik retweeted Praveen Swami
His family says he hasn't yet been sentenced. #ZaidHamid
Dr. Tanya :D @tanya4PTI
Dr. Tanya :D retweeted Express News
After zaid Hamid's fake news. I don't trust Pak media
Omer naveed @Omernaveed2
Zaid hamid news of lashings is fake
Qudsia Mashhadi @Madina_e_Sani
Yet again Pakistani media has acted shamefully by 'breaking a news' based on fake news from a 3rd class blog #ZaidHamid #FOspeakOnZaidHamid
Fozia Siddiqui @FoziaSid
"@FarhanKVirk: #FOSpeakOnZaidHamid RETWEET and Spread awareness as this news about Zaid Hamid imprisonment completely FAKE
100 lashes for the Media outlets who posted the 'Copy Paste' fake story on Zaid Hamid from a Dodgy Website?