PTA directed to block blasphemous social media pages

Bloggers case

Islamabad - The Islamabad High Court Monday directed Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to block pages or websites containing blasphemous material on social media.

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui also directed the respondents in this matter and Inspector General (IG) Islamabad police to submit their reply within one week and to appear in person before the court on next date of hearing scheduled on March 7.

The court issued these directions in a petition moved against five bloggers and administrations of pages on social media allegedly involved in defiling and disgracing the names of holy personalities and places of Islam.

A citizen Salman Shahid moved the petition through his counsel Tariq Asad Advocate and nominated Secretary Interior, Secretary Ministry of IT, Director General FIA and Chairman PTA as respondents.

During the hearing, the counsel for the petitioner contended before the court that some people committed blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and other prophets through the medium of social media.

This act has strongly provoked sentiments of Muslims and Pakistani law suggests strict punishments for the blasphemers.

In his petition, the petitioner stated that bloggers including Professor Salman Haider and others through their blasphemous posts on Behnsa, Roshni and Mochi – all three social media pages – defiled and disrespected the holy entities of Islam.

He informed the court that five persons, namely Salman Haider, Ahmed Waqas Goraya, Asim Saeed, Ahmed Raza Naseer and Samar Abbas had been hosting social media pages with the titles Bhansa, Mochi and Roshni with inflammatory and blasphemous material against the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and his companions.

They also drew sketch of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and uttered blasphemous things about the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), his companions, wives (Azwaje Mutaharat) and sacred book of Quran as well as Allah Almighty. He argued that the blasphemous material in the form of writings, sketches and videos are being floated on the social media but the respondents no 2 and 3 are taking no notice of it to block that material nor any action is being taken by the respondent no 3 due to the influence of respondent no 1, it is therefore expedient to pass orders by this court to all the respondents in this regard accordingly as per law.

The petitioner prayed to the court to direct the respondents no 2, 3 and 4 to block the pages on the social media, namely ‘bhansa’, ‘Machar’ and others similar pages and IDs containing the blasphemous words, sketches and videos against the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), his companions, wives (Azwaje Mutaharat) and Sacred book of Quran as well as God Almighty.

He further requested the court to restrain respondent no 1 Ministry of Interior from putting undue influence upon respondent no 3 to inquire  and investigate by the aid of NRCCC as to who are the actual culprits committing blasphemy and initiate proceedings against them in this regard in accordance with law.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt