ISLAMABAD: Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday urged religious scholars to jointly deal with the issue of blasphemous content on social media.

The court observed that the bureaucracy had apparently failed to tackle such a sensitive issue which sometimes resulted in the murder of alleged blasphemers.

The judge, who was one of the authors of the verdict which upheld the conviction of Mumtaz Qadri, the murderer of Punjab governor Salman Taseer, remarked that if the government machinery did not stop blasphemous content from reaching citizens, people like Mumtaz Qadri would continue to take the law into their own hands.

Judge says if govt does not restrict such content, more Mumtaz Qadris would take the law into their own hands

Hearing a petition seeking the blockade of blasphemous contents and hate material on the social media, Justice Siddiqui directed Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to appear before the court.

The court noted: “This matter requires immediate attention otherwise patience of the followers of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) may run out.”

Inspector General of Islamabad Police Tariq Masood Yasin said he was ready to take action if the court passed an order.

“This is a greatest form of terrorism and people involved in this heinous act are biggest terrorists,” the court observed, referring to the publication of blasphemous content and hate material on social media.

“It is shameful that delicate and sensitive matter in hand remained unattended by the executive of the country. It is also painful that the interior secretary did not bother to appear before the court and preferred to attend some office meeting.”

On Feb 27, the bench had directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to block pages or websites containing blasphemous material.

On Tuesday, Secretary Ministry of Information Technology Rizwan Bashir Khan, PTA Chairman Syed Ismail Shah, SSP (operations) Sajid Mehmood Kiani and officers of the Federal Investigation Agency appeared before the court. The petitioner adopted that the pages and videos against the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and revered personalities had not been blocked by the respondents nor any step taken so far. As a result, the culprits were encouraged and fearlessly opening more pages using different names.

The petitioner claimed that religious people had demanded registration of cases against those responsible for uploading the blasphemous contents and hate material.

The court will take up the case again on Wednesday.

Published in Dawn, March 8th, 2017



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