As the hearing of a petition seeking removal of blasphemous content from social media resumed on Wednesday, Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui was told that the interior ministry had made one arrest in the case, while the names of several have been put on the Exit Control List (ECL).

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) submitted its report on the matter and informed the court that they had registered a case two days ago after completing their inquiry.

The court expressed its disappointment at the speed at which the case was progressing and instructed the interior ministry to hand in a detailed report on the matter in the next hearing, which will be held on March 27.

The court reiterated that the country's premier spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence, should assist the government in the case.

Justice Siddiqui said a decision on banning social media in Pakistan will be made only after the interior ministry submits its report.

The issue has kicked up a political storm on the national level.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on March 14 that blasphemy is an unpardonable offence and directed the state machinery to find those responsible for putting blasphemous content on social media and bring them to justice without delay.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar has also said that Pakistan will represent the global Muslim community on the issue of blasphemous content posted on social media platforms and take the fight to any extent necessary to get its message across.

On March 16, the National Assembly passed a resolution condemning blasphemous content posted on social media and unanimously agreed to the formation of a committee of parliamentary leaders to monitor such content.



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