Social media ban for civil servants challenged

Published: December 25, 2019
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A Reuters file photo of a smart phone screen showing social media apps.

A Reuters file photo of a smart phone screen showing social media apps.

ISLAMABAD: The decision of the Ministry of Interior of imposing a ban on government officers over usage of social media accounts has been challenged in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday.

A citizen Muhammad Owais filed the plea through his counsel Mian Asif Mehmood. The Cabinet division and Ministry of Law and Justice were made respondents in the application.

The petitioner stated that the decision affected the right of freedom of expression awarded in the Constitution and contended that the public servants around the world use social media sites for public connectivity.

The petitioner told the court that the account of Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat on social media website Twitter was also blocked, citing that he used to resolve public complaints received there immediately. Petitioner  stated that the citizens could be deprived of urgent actions towards their complaints due to the ban.

The applicant said that Prime Minister Imran Khan and Inter Services Public Relations DG had social media accounts through which they were linked with the public.

He pleaded the court to void the ministry’s decision and order restoration of the blocked social media accounts of government officers.

PMDC dissolution

A single-member bench of IHC issued another notice to law and justice ministry for submitting a response in the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) dissolution case.

Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani was presiding over the case on Tuesday. Saad Khan and Malik Qamar Afzal were representing PMDC while Babar Sattar appeared as the counsel of the petitioner. The court directed the related ministry to produce the notification regarding the dissolution of the medical body along with the summary of its establishment in the next hearing.

The proceeding would not move ahead even if a response was not submitted, the court said. After issuing notice to the ministry, the court adjourned the hearing until Friday. 

Published in The Express Tribune, December 25th, 2019.

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