PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Tuesday ordered authorities to block Facebook pages allegedly containing blasphemous content.
A division bench comprising PHC Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan and Justice Qaiser Rashid also sought a reply from the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Ministry of Information and Broadcast, secret agencies and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on a petition filed by Advocate Arif Jan.
Jan argued two pages on the social media website, Facebook, contained blasphemous material. The petitioner, who has already reportedly appraised the court on the pages, refused to share the links in open court fearing nationwide protests.
The bench ordered the PTA to block the pages within three days, further directing the mentioned authorities to submit their replies on the matter within 20 days.
Jan told journalists the reason he refused to share the link in open court was because it would lead to protests and cause political and religious parties to try and score points with the public.
On May 22, the PHC had directed petitioner Mian Muhibullah Kakakhel to collect information on whether the PTA could filter blasphemous material being uploaded to YouTube. Kakakhel had requested the court order the website be unblocked as people used YouTube to obtain information.
Kakakhel had said YouTube was banned in Pakistan after blasphemous material was uploaded. He argued, however, that the PTA needed to remove the unwanted material so people could continue getting information from the video-sharing website.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2013.