ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has taken suo motu notice on an application of a United Kingdom-based Pakistani, Barrister Amjad Malik regarding blasphemous content circulating on the internet and has sought a report from chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) within a week.
Malik had registered his complaint through the Human Rights Cell of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
According to a press release issued on Monday by the apex court’s media directorate, the applicant drew the attention of the top judge towards the “ever-increasing blasphemous material circulating in the internet domain having for reaching implications on the minds, the lives and liberties of mainstream Muslim population.”
It was prayed that necessary directions be issued to PTA, the Government of Pakistan and the relevant institutions to block those objectionable pages promoting blasphemy in the name of freedom of expression and “take meaningful steps for the international convents to protect the name of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).”
It is pertinent to mention here that YouTube is already banned in Pakistan.
The famous video sharing website was banned by the Pakistan government in September 2012 after it sparked anger and violent protests across the country and the Muslim world because of a blasphemous video uploaded on the site.
Following the ban, an inter-ministerial committee comprising representatives from Information Technology ministry, PTA, Federal Investigation Agency, religious affairs ministry, intelligence agencies and other stakeholders was formed to look into the issue and suggest a solution.
Last November, the committee suggested in its final report to the prime minister that the ban on the website be kept until it (the website) agreed to remove the video voluntarily or until PTA found a way to block it, which the latter failed to do.
An IT ministry official said that the legal way of getting Google Inc to agree to remove the blasphemous video was to file a formal request for which there needed to be Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) between United States and Pakistan.
However, the treaty was not initiated from Pakistani foreign office administration as it was a lengthy process, the IT ministry official added.