ISLAMABAD, March 13: The Supreme Court was informed on Monday that in accordance with its orders, all websites displaying sacrilegious cartoons had been blocked.

A statement to this effect was made by Deputy Attorney General Nasir Saeed Shaikh on behalf of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) before a three-judge bench hearing identical petitions of Dr Mohammad Imran Uppal and Maulvi Iqbal Haider. The petitioners have sought that all blasphemous websites be completely blocked.

During an earlier hearing, the bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Justice Javed Buttar and Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan had asked respondents to ensure that offensive websites were blocked in Pakistan.

The bench issued directions to Attorney General of Pakistan Makhdoom Ali Khan to assist the court on Monday on how it could exercise jurisdiction to prevent availability of blasphemous material on websites the world over.

Chairman Pemra (Pakistan Electronic Media and Regulatory Authority) Iftikhar Rashid and Chairman PTA Shahzada Alam Malik were present in the court.

The federal government and its ministry of telecommunication, Pemera, PTA, Yahoo USA and I&I Co, the web host of the blasphemous sites have been cited respondents.

Advocate Qamar Afzal argued on behalf of petitioner Dr Uppal that availability of material hurting religious feelings of the Muslims should have been declared as intellectual terrorism and a war of the East against the West.

Advocate Ibrahim Satti, counsel for petitioner Iqbal Haider, stated that an FIR under blasphemy laws had

not been registered by the police station concerned despite earlier directions of the court.

The bench will again take up the petitions on Monday.


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