IHC lauds ministries efforts to curb blasphemy on social media

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ISLAMABAD, March 27 (APP): Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of
Islamabad High Court on Monday appreciated ministries of interior and information for making efforts to devise a strategy for containing
blasphemy on social media.
Justice Siddiqui, however, regretted that the Ministry of Information and Technology had no mechanism to deal with the issue.
He was hearing a plea moved by Salman Shahid against the ongoing uploading of blasphemous material on social media.
During the course of proceedings, Secretary Interior Arif Ahmed Khan apprised the court about the steps taken by the government since March 22, including a session of ambassadors of Islamic countries in Pakistan presided over by Interior Minister, in which some strategy was evolved to raise the issue at international forums.
He said all the departments concerned had been fully activated to curb blasphemy on social media permanently.
The Secretary Interior also placed a copy of the letter of Vice-President of Global Public Policy Facebook in response to the letter of Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan.
Secretary Information Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui, Director General
(IP), and a PTA official also submitted a progress report which contained the material showing the efforts of PTA.
After going through the report, Justice Siddiqui appreciated the steps taken by the ministry and directed to continue such efforts for curbing the menace of blasphemy.
The Director Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) also submitted
a report in compliance with the court’s earlier orders that in connection with investigation of FIR No.7/2017, certain accused had been arrested against whom evidence was available.
The bench, however, remarked that the court was not supposed to
supervise the investigation. It was up to the investigation agency to deal with the issue by ensuring due process of law, transparency and merit.
There was no need to submit any report with regard to progress of investigation.
The court also noted that in compliance with its March 13 and 17 orders
no reports about alleged bloggers, who had gone missing and re-surfaced after few days, had been submitted.
The Secrtary Interior apprised the court that the matter would be taken up at the highest level for taking required steps, including involvement of the ministry concerned.
The court remarked that the government should be proactive for raising a national “firewall” enabling Pakistan to monitor Internet traffic in the country.
The court appreciated the government for holding a session of the ambassadors of the Islamic countries for discussing future course and strategy, where some laudable decisions were also taken.
The court also asked the Attorney General to assist it on insertion of blasphemy and pornography in the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 and penal consequences of false accusation to blasphemy, proposed to be brought in the relevant law on the next date of hearing.
The case was adjourned till March 31.