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Facebook removed 85% of blasphemous material on Pakistan's request, high court told

Updated Mar 27, 2017 04:03pm


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The interior ministry informed the Islamabad High Court on Monday that Facebook administration has been blocking illegal blasphemous content on Pakistan's request and 85 per cent of such material on the social networking site has already been removed.

Interior Secretary Arif Khan said in his report that Facebook had responded to their letter and showed its willingness to remove content deemed blasphemous.

He said the federal government has taken ambassadors of 27 Muslim countries on board in connection with the issue. Furthermore, three arrests have been made during the course of the online blasphemy probe, out of which two people were directly involved in posting blasphemous content, he stated.

Law enforcers have also found blasphemous content from the suspects' laptops and mobile devices. A joint interrogation team has been constituted to probe into the matter, he added.

When asked why the ambassador of the country from where the offence originated was not summoned, the interior secretary responded: "Our embassy in Washington has also taken up the matter [with the US government]."

He said banning Facebook is "not the solution of the problem".

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Chairman Ismael Shah said a team, comprising 25 members, has been working to search blasphemous content online. He said that the authority has so far taken action against 40 such pages.

He said the Facebook administration has realised the issue and "assured to comply with our demand".

"Facebook agreeing to our demands is a big achievement," the PTA chief said.

In his remarks, IHC Chief Justice Shaukat Siddiqui praised the government for hosting a meeting of 27 envoys of Muslims countries.

Justice Siddiqui expressed displeasure over the role of the information ministry and ordered IT Minister Anusha Rehman to come in person and explain why the issue has not been resolved as yet.

The chief justice also sought a report on amendments in the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016.

The hearing of the case will resume on March 31 as the court directed all parties to submit their progress reports on the day.

The government had approached Facebook earlier this month regarding access to the records of three controversial pages accused of spreading blasphemous content. Facebook in its reply had said it is aware of the government's reservations and that it wants to resolve the issue via bilateral dialogue and mutual understanding.

Facebook management had also decided to send a delegation to Pakistan for investigating content which the government considers to be blasphemous.


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Comments (47) Closed

FREEDOM Mar 27, 2017 11:50am

May God guide all of us on the right path. Aameen

Abdulla Hussain Mar 27, 2017 11:50am

Good, it should 100%.

qa Mar 27, 2017 12:03pm

Ok What about now...

George Mar 27, 2017 12:21pm

I wonder as to where has he seen that it has been removed. It's very much there as it was.

El Cid Mar 27, 2017 12:22pm

Why not all of it? What about the remaining 15%?

Be yourself Mar 27, 2017 12:19pm

Right step in the right direction!!! JazakAllah

Abdul Rehman Mar 27, 2017 12:25pm

This is the most important issue facing the country..

ZK Mar 27, 2017 12:33pm

Ouote: Facebook agreeing to our demands is a big achievement," the PTA chief said Unquote: Aren't they supposed to ? Is this doubt because you were less than convinced on your own outlook

Facebook management had decided to send a delegation to Pakistan for investigating content ' which the government considers to be blasphemous ' ...hope they were more than convinced or 15% remaining is where they were not convinced ? Hope those who are arrested are not from this 15% content.

Rahim Mar 27, 2017 12:35pm

If this is true, then good job by the Govt. They took the initiative and did the work required to sort out this issue. I hope that the Govt can take similar initiatives on all domestic issues concerning Pakistan.

Brahmdgh Mar 27, 2017 12:37pm

What a shame

Brahmdgh Mar 27, 2017 12:38pm

Any idea that is afraid of the opposing arguments, is a idea not worth defending

Riz Mar 27, 2017 12:40pm

@Abdulla Hussain 85% means Pakistan cannot force Facebook to remove contents. simple is that block facebook until they remove all contents,

fahd Mar 27, 2017 12:51pm

Good show .

fahd Mar 27, 2017 12:50pm

Make it 100%

dynaimte Mar 27, 2017 12:50pm

Good work, great Pakistan govt has track of 100% of the illegal stuff on facebook.....wonder how ?

mushy ali Mar 27, 2017 12:57pm

Remaining 15 % should also be removed.

ZK Mar 27, 2017 12:53pm

@George " It's very much there as it was."

What is basis of the calculation ? How sacrosanct figure of 85% is arrived at ?

And why not full 100% as it is a must considering sentiments involved.

sam Mar 27, 2017 12:54pm

Censoring is only putting bucket over one's head. It will still be visible all over the world. Through VPN even Pakistanis can access the content.

mandy Mar 27, 2017 12:58pm

Pakistan society is moving backwards.

Spread LOVE Mar 27, 2017 01:05pm

All credit goes to Pakistan

Joshi Mar 27, 2017 01:04pm

It means whenever Pakistanis see content which hurts their religious sentiments, they request FB to take actions against it (block or delete or whatever).

I wish we (as Indians and as Pakistanis) become serious about corruption, illiteracy, hooliganism, poverty, goondaism, child labor etc by ourselves by questioning authorities.

Why don’t we correct other bad things along with blasphemy?

mastana Mar 27, 2017 01:18pm

Just block this website once for all, we can live without Facebook.

Khwarizmi Mar 27, 2017 01:22pm

Good job! Facebook must not be a place to hurt the masses.

Rameez Mar 27, 2017 01:38pm

Right!..FB has espicially hired a person whose job is to sit and go through millions of posts and keep deleting the minute unsuitable comment surfaces. Why?..beacause Pakistan asked for it!

CHAND Mar 27, 2017 01:34pm

For the information of the readers, the nearest full fledged offices of Facebook for Pakistan are in India one at Gurgaon and the other one is at Bangalore. The Pakistan Governments requests are processed there. The next destination would be in Cyprus. In Indian offices alone 1300 engineers work and a team of 18 look into the compliance matter.

Khawaja Mar 27, 2017 01:41pm

What about other Muslim countries? Are they complaining about the blasphemous content on facebook

Kashif Mar 27, 2017 01:44pm

@Abdul Rehman IF this is not the most important then Then this is also not the least

citizen Mar 27, 2017 02:11pm

Pakisthan proved its claim to be a super power..At last Facebook kneeled before the might of pakisthan....A great sweet victory and hope Trumph notes about this fact..

sherryaar Mar 27, 2017 02:21pm

what about balance 15% ? even 0.099 % is not acceptable to true muslims... interior minister should resign or make sure that its done within next 48 hrs...

sherryaar Mar 27, 2017 02:17pm

@mandy i think u shouold worry about ur country and leave worrying about others..

Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad Mar 27, 2017 02:51pm

In order to nip the evil in the bud, the interior ministry of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and other 57 Islamic nations of the world must pro-actively and aggressively try to make their point to the face book administration on this crucial issue of blasphemous material against Islam,

Ziyad Abid Mar 27, 2017 03:27pm

Also Religious extremism material need to be removed as well. We don’t want extreme Liberals and also extreme Religious views.

Bilkish Ali Mar 27, 2017 04:15pm

Has any official statement been issued by Facebook regarding this?

Bilkish Ali Mar 27, 2017 04:17pm

There is a difference in content been removed and blocked. Being blocked means it still exists but we cant see it from here

IMTIAZ ALI KHAN Mar 27, 2017 04:36pm

@Joshi because we don't follow the good in our faith, the aman, peace, shanti message

efkar Mar 27, 2017 04:36pm

@Bilkish Ali No Eid if you cant see the new moon from your country!

The_Truth Mar 27, 2017 05:42pm

Right step.

Azad kashmir Mar 27, 2017 05:52pm

@CHAND is that the fancy indian way of saying call center workers?

Sardar suri Mar 27, 2017 06:06pm

What about free speech?

jamshed Mar 27, 2017 06:46pm

Instead of taking credit and make it such a high profile achievement it's about time Pakistan's government and its people should put their head down and work hard to bring harmony and safety of general masses and its minorities to set an example that we are civilized nation?

omveer Mar 27, 2017 07:18pm

What kind of material was it? What about the remaining? Facebook should not be allowed to encourage posting such content

Prateik Mar 27, 2017 07:34pm

Facebook is just a small fraction of social media.

Ch. K. A. Nye Mar 27, 2017 07:39pm

@Khawaja ... I haven't seen nor read anything to suggest that other Muslim countries are taking this matter up with FB. I guess they have a few more important things to do.

Abbas syed Mar 27, 2017 08:44pm

Tbis is such a bogus issue. How does the removal blasphemous materisl help greater issues hunger and poverty of billions that includes 1.3 billion Muslims. This may be good for home consumption but has no value to rest of the world.

asif Ali Mar 28, 2017 08:20am

@mastana , Don't see it, will solve your problem, other will solve their problem.

EmmittBrown Mar 28, 2017 11:55am

Facts are devastating and destabilising to any authority built on lies. Especially the sort of lies a child can see through.

Sameer Mar 28, 2017 12:46pm

85% where did they get those figures?