Petitioner seeks closure of social media site

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui will Monday (today) take up the petition moved by Civil Society of Pakistan through its president Muhammad Tahir.

The petitioner filed the petition through his counsel Tariq Asad Advocate and cited Secretary Ministry of Interior, Secretary Ministry of Information and Technology, Federal Investigation Authority through its Director General, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) through its Chairman, Inspector General of Islamabad police and Pakistan Electronic Media Authority (PEMRA) as respondents.

Petitioner stated in his petition that he had filed a petition against posting of blasphemous material on social media and the court took serious notice of it and directed all the concerned departments including Ministry of Interior, Ministry of I.T., Ministry of Information, PTA, Police, and FIA to take immediate action to close/block the pages.

He added that in case serious notice is not taken against the culprits, the people may be provoked and may start a movement throughout the country creating law and order situation.

The counsel for the petitioner contended that the Chairman PTA had given a statement before this court on 9 March, 2017 that they had closed the pages containing blasphemous material whereas such material in the form of writings, sketches and videos are still being posted on the Facebook continuously against the Holy Prophet (PBUH), Suhab-e-Kram, his wives (Azwaje Mutaharat) and Sacred book of Quran-e-Pak as well as God Almighty.

He maintained that it was not feasible to block all such material by them unless it is informed and indicated by the public sector that new pages have been opened. He said that it may take about three weeks to close such pages, as they had not sufficient equipment to do that job.

Tariq Asad argued that it is, therefore, apprehended that they are unable to close the pages within reasonable time as the time given by the respondent No 4 to be three weeks to block the pages may be further extended whereas even the approximate period of three weeks to block the pages is beyond the patience of the Muslims and serious law and order situation may arise in the country.

Therefore, he prayed to the court to direct the respondents no 1 to 4 to block immediately all the pages, IDs containing the blasphemous words, sketches and videos against the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Suhab-e-Kram, wives (Azwaje Mutaharat) and Sacred book of Quran-e-Pak as well as God Almighty.

He also requested the court to direct the respondent no 4 to close Facebook for the time being until the permanent arrangements are made to block/close the pages and IDs permanently.

The petitioner further prayed to the court to direct the respondents to investigate by the assistance of NRCCC as to who are the actual culprits committing blasphemy and initiate proceedings against them in this regard in accordance with law.

He said that the court may direct respondent no 6 to abstain the television channels from conducting such programmes/talk shows by hosts and guests who are against the ideology of Pakistan being the basic structure of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 and Islamic values on the basis of which the country was founded.

The Nation