Place names of blasphemers on Exit Control List, IHC orders govt

Published: March 8, 2017

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has directed the government to register cases against alleged blasphemers running social media pages and put their names on the Exit Control List (ECL).

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui said on Wednesday that suspected blasphemers should be placed on the ECL, lest they attempt to flee and escape legal proceedings under the country’s law.

The IHC judge issued directions to “eliminate this [the blasphemous content]” and for “persons responsible be booked in criminal cases under the relevant provisions of law”.

Blasphemy: IHC directs authorities to block all social media if necessary

He opined that ‘extremist’ liberal and secular segments of society were far more dangerous than religious fundamentalists. Justice Siddiqui said material available and shown to the officials inside the chamber revealed that the culprits have attributed “malicious and disgusting” things to the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

“After perusal of material, officials find themselves in shock, agony and pain,” the order noted. Many officials admitted before the bench that they could not go through all of the material.

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Also present at the hearing was the PTA chairman, who said the elimination of blasphemous material and pages will require going through roughly 1.4 billion pages which is an uphill task, adding that blocking access to social media might not help as the pages could still be accessed by using proxies. He shared that pages were being removed with the help of the Facebook officials.

On this, Justice Siddiqui directed setting up of teams for monitoring and scrutinising blasphemous material and removing such content.

Petitioner Salman Shahid, through his counsel Tariq Asad, had approached the IHC saying blasphemy was being committed through certain pages on social media.

The petitioner alleged that five bloggers – Salman Haider, Ahmed Waqas Goraya, Asim Saeed, Ahmed Raza Naseer, and Samar Abbas – created pages like ‘Bhensa’, ‘Mochi’, and ‘Roshni’ to commit blasphemy.

A day earlier, the same court had ordered the interior minister to eliminate blasphemous pages on social media, even at the cost of blocking all social media.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • S.Basit
    Mar 8, 2017 - 6:09PM

    Good Move !!
    not only on ECL but also punish them so that no one can dare to do again. apply to all religion !!!Recommend

  • Bhangi
    Mar 8, 2017 - 6:09PM

    21st century is here. Adapt and move on. Recommend

  • TooTrue
    Mar 8, 2017 - 6:54PM

    Let people have opinions and freedom to say whatever they like. Free speech. Only regulate hate speech, which by all accounts is being directed against these bloggers. Why is your religion so small and bereft of ideas that it can’t stand criticism?Recommend

  • Ikrullah
    Mar 9, 2017 - 2:52AM

    The judge is pre motivated to punish the accused without trial.Recommend

  • Shakil Ahmed
    Mar 9, 2017 - 6:24AM

    to all pro free speech, Pakistan laws against blasphemy so follow the law of the land FULL STOP!

    you have no god given right to insult someone else faith if you dont believe in it with hateful material.Recommend

  • Atif
    Mar 9, 2017 - 10:36AM

    Why my comment not posted ET?
    Just because i was supporting Court orders?Recommend

  • Atif
    Mar 9, 2017 - 10:39AM

    @Shakil Ahmed:
    agreed .. and my message to all those who are supporting bloggers…Blasphemy is punishable by death !! full stop.Recommend

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