Facebook to help Pakistan combat online blasphemy

Facebook has agreed to send a delegation to Pakistan to help the government in its crackdown on online blasphemy, reported Radio Pakistan.

An interior ministry spokesman said the social media giant has nominated a focal person to contact the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) over the matter.

“The government has received a written reply from the Facebook administration stating that they are fully aware of Pakistan's concerns over blasphemous content and they are ready to solve the matter with consultation and dialogue,” he added.

Islamabad has asked Facebook and Twitter to help it identify Pakistanis suspected of blasphemy so that it can prosecute them or pursue their extradition.

Under Pakistan's strict blasphemy laws, anyone found to have insulted Islam or the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) can be sentenced to death.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said Thursday that an official in Pakistan's Washington embassy has approached the two social media companies in an effort to identify Pakistanis, either within the country or abroad, who recently shared material deemed offensive to Islam.

“Questioning Holocaust isn’t allowed but insulting the Holy Prophet (PBUH) is justified as free speech,” Nisar said at a press briefing. “Is it freedom of expression or a disgusting conspiracy against Islam.”

He said Pakistani authorities have identified 11 people for questioning over alleged blasphemy and would seek the extradition of anyone living abroad.

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