Blasphemous content online: IHC sends four to jail on remand

Published: April 21, 2017


ISLAMABAD: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Friday sent four men, who are facing charges of posting blasphemous content on social media, to jail on judicial remand till May 4.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) produced the suspects before ATC Judge Kausar Abbas Zaidi and said they were no longer needed for a physical remand.

FIA officials told the judge that the four men were arrested on suspicion that they were sharing blasphemous material on social media. The ATC will now take up the case on May 4.

On March 22, the FIA had informed the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that the four men were booked for blasphemy, criminal conspiracy, and offences under the Anti-Terrorism Act.

Four blasphemy suspects handed over to FIA

Earlier, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the IHC had observed that the availability of blasphemous material on social media had a direct bearing on the integrity, security and defence of Pakistan and all institutions needed to rise to the occasion to protect the ideological and geographical boundaries of the country.

The IHC had also ordered the authorities concerned to include sections related to blasphemy and pornography in the Cyber Crimes Act and investigate non-governmental organisations that were operating in Pakistan “with an agenda to spread blasphemous content and promote pornography”.

FIA arrests three for posting blasphemous content on social media

Justice Siddiqui had also ordered that the top leadership of the country needed to become proactive on the issue and come up with a national “firewall” that would enable the country to monitor its internet traffic and users.

The IHC had ordered that cases be registered against alleged blasphemers, a joint investigation team be formed to probe into such cases, the culprits’ names be placed on the exit control list and the whole state machinery be used, if needed, to remove blasphemous content from social media.

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