Facebook ban in Pakistan not solution to problem, government tells IHC

Facebook ban in Pakistan not solution to problem, government tells IHC

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court resumed the hearing of the blasphemous content case today with Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui in chair.

As many as three miscreants directly involved in the heinous activity, have been arrested so far, Secretary Interior Arif Khan told Islamabad High Court (IHC) hearing a case regarding blasphemous content on social media.

The secretary told the court the matter was broached before ambassadors of 27 Muslim countries and a joint investigation team has been formed to probe the matter.

The secretary told Chief Justice IHC Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui that closing off Facebook is not a solution to the issue.

Justice Siddiqui hailed the step to call the meeting of ambassadors to brainstorm the question; however, he added, “Why was the ambassador of the country where this activity actually took place, not invited?”

Secretary Interior responded, “Pakistani embassy located in Washington raised the issue.”

He told that at least 85 percent of blasphemous content on social media has been obliterated and only ten to 15 percent remains.

Justice Siddiqui said the court will not intervene in the investigations.

“Where are IT expert, Ahsan Iqabal, minister for religious affairs? The entire government has left the job to Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan,” Justice Siddiqui voiced displeasure.

“Will Anusha Rehman tell the court as to why the issue has not been resolved thus far?” he asked.

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Chairman Syed Ismail Shah told the court that action has been taken up against 40 Facebook pages of sacrilegious content and a special team is looking for all such content.

“It is our big success that Facebook conceded to our request. Previously, they did not believe the blasphemous content; but, now they are removing all such content,” PTA chief told the court.

Expressing satisfaction, Justice Siddiqui said all the national institutions are working. Chairman PTA replied, “The issue does not pertain to a single institution. Instead, all the institutions will have to work in sync toward this end.”

Justice Siddiqui appreciates the development and exhorted him not to take pressure from lantern or candle—a metaphor for the NGOs working in the name of human rights.

The court summoned the report during the next hearing with directives that special caution should be exercised that no innocent people are wronged.