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Suspects in blasphemy case put on ECL

Updated March 23, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: The interior ministry on Wednesday informed the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that it had placed the names of certain suspects on no fly list in connection with a blasphemy case.

During the hearing of a petition seeking removal of blasphemous content from social media, interior ministry officials told IHC Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui that some suspects have been placed on the exit control list.

Interior secretary Arif Ahmed Khan, however, sought time from the court to submit a detailed report on the steps taken to counter the blasphemous content and action taken against the suspects.

According to the interior secretary the matter has been taken up at all levels and executive of the country is fully conscious of the sensitivity of the issue.

He said that an FIR No. 07/2017 dated March 19, 2017 has been registered with Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) under sections 295-A, 295-B, 295-C (related to blasphemy), 298, 298-A, 298-B (religious hatred), 109 (abetment) Pakistan Penal Code read with section 11 of Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016. Besides, the terrorism related sections have also been incorporated in the FIR, the court was informed.

The FIA director general, Mazharul Haq Kakakhel, told the court that the investigation agency had taken one person into custody in connection with blasphemy case and also confiscated electronic gadgets from his possession.

A representative of the Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) also appeared before the court and said that the intelligence agency had the capability to block blasphemous content on the social media and it could assist law enforcement agency to trace the alleged blasphemers.

Subsequently, the court directed the DG FIA to include a representative of the ISI in the joint investigation team.

Justice Siddiqui remarked that the government might consider banning social media websites in case they would refuse to extend cooperation to block the blasphemous content.

Further hearing in this matter has been adjourned till March 27.

Published in Dawn, March 23rd, 2017

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