Two incidents of rape and murder have come to the fore in Pakistan, and both have been associated with two popular apps, PUBG and TikTok, both banned in India amidst concerns about data security. While TikTok is a Chinese app, PUBG is developed by a South Korean company, but the mobile version of it was developed by Chinese firm Tencent Games for both Android and iOS.
In the first case, a 15-year-old teenage boy was brutally raped and murdered for blocking an associate of the accused on the online gaming app PUBG. According to a local report, Lahore’s Raiwind City Police arrested four accused on charges of rape and murder of a 15-year-old teenage boy in Raiwind, Lahore, Pakistan.
According to a report by a local news channel Geo News, the suspects purportedly raped and murdered the teenager because he blocked a friend of the main suspect on the online PUBG (PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds) game.
The local police said that the accused kidnapped the boy on the 13th of January. They took the victim to Nankana Sahib, where they first raped and then murdered him. The victim’s body was later found in Sheikhupura.
The Lahore police sent the DNA samples of the accused to a forensic lab for further investigation.
Last year on the 2nd of September, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India decided to block 118 mobile apps citing concerns that these are ‘prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of the state and public order’. PUBG was also one of the apps banned by Indian govt.
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) had also decided to impose a temporary ban on PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) in Pakistan. However, the decision had come owing to the fact that at least two people in Pakistan had committed suicide and their deaths have been linked to this online game.
Four avid TikTok users murdered in Karachi, Pakistan
Meanwhile, in another case, 4 social media users, including one female, particularly active on the Chinese short video app TikTok, were shot dead by unknown assailants near Anklesaria Hospital in Karachi’s Garden area early on Tuesday (February 2) morning.
According to a report by Dawn, two deceased identified as Muskaan and Amir were friends. City Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Sarfaraz Nawaz Shaikh said that on the fateful night, Muskan and Amir met. Amir, who arranged for a car, invited two of his friends Rehan and Sajjad.
All four roamed around the city and Amir and Muskaan also made TikTok videos during that time, said the official, furthering that during the wee hours of the morning, while they were around Anklesaria Hospital in Karachi’s Garden area, some unknown assailants attacked them. The girl was sitting inside the car while the boys were standing outside when they were shot.
The girl succumbed to the injury inside the car. The three boys were rushed to the hospital where they too succumbed to their wounds.
Empty shells from 9mm pistols were found near the car, as per the report. The family of the deceased arrived at the police station and a first information report (FIR) would be registered.
The Pakistani local newspaper quoted a source as saying that the killing “appeared to be the outcome of some personal issues”. However, the police are trying to investigate the exact motive of the murder and the identity of the killers, he added. The SSP confirmed that there were no witnesses to the incident.
It is pertinent to note here, that Rehan and Sajjad had previously uploaded a TikTok video in which they were seen doing aerial firing in Karachi’s Ittihad Town area. After the video went viral, police had taken cognisance and registered an FIR against the two youths.
TikTok, a video sharing app owned by a Chinese company called ByteDance, which is banned in India, apart from posing threats to national security and being extensively used to objectify women and glorify attacks on them, promoting rape, animal cruelty, domestic violence etc., the Chinese app has been linked to several deaths, as users had been using the app to post videos of suicide and even murders.
Several murders and suicides in the recent past have been associated with the Chinese social media app. The glorification of pervasive issues and the app’s toxicity has compelled the government to issue a blanket ban on the Chinese app.