online blasphemy

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) yesterday warned to issue orders for blocking the famous social media site ‘Twitter’ in Pakistan if its administration didn’t assure to remove the profane and online blasphemy material from the site.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court conducted the case and asked the government to write to Twitter authorities over the issue and report back in the next hearing. The Special Secretary of Interior Ministry and Deputy Attorney General Arshad Kiyani represented federation.

The verdict (in online blasphemy case) was announced on May 2. Why is blasphemous material still accessible on Twitter?

Politicians would cry a river if Twitter gets banned, saying such a move affects their campaign,” The Judge said.

Pakistan previously banned Facebook for hosting allegedly blasphemous content for two weeks in 2010 while YouTube was unavailable from 2012 to 2016 over content deemed insulting to Islam.

Last year, the same judge from Islamabad High Court (IHC) had ordered the then Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan to eliminate the access to blasphemous content on social media even at the expense of blocking the public’s access to social media platforms.

In his response, the chairman of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority had said that eliminating all online blasphemy material from roughly 1.4 billion pages on social media and the internet was an extremely difficult task. Even shutting down social media would not help, he said, as the websites and pages could still be reached by using proxies.

“We will go to any extent even if we have to go to the extent of permanently blocking all such social media websites if they refuse to cooperate in online blasphemy situation.” Nisar had stated.

Facebook had earlier removed 85% of the sacrilegious content after the Islamabad made contact with them and asked to cooperate to block such pages and posts on the direction of the court. But still, there are these posts floating online in Pakistan.

PMLN government promised to take this thing seriously and amend the constitution and make new laws regarding online blasphemous material but no one paid heed. Almost a year has passed since IHC had given its previous judgment but nothing worthy has been done in the matter.

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