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ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary panel was on Friday told that most websites and pages on social media which contained a picture depicting Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan as Lord Shiva, have been blocked.

During a meeting of a sub-committee of the Standing Committee on Government Assurances, which was chaired by MNA Dr Fouzia Hameed, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) officials said the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) identified 17 websites which contained the picture and blocked most of them.

The issue was referred to the sub-committee by the main committee on the complaint of MNAs Ramesh Lal and Lal Chand Malhi. Both the lawmakers attended the sub-committee’s meeting and expressed satisfaction over the progress made in the case.

The committee was told that after getting court orders- as required in order to get user data from Facebook management, the FIA had forwarded a request to the social media site for getting information on the users who spread the picture in question.

Facebook management had earlier refused FIA’s request for providing user details, saying they will not entertain the request without formal legal process.

“Court order through the competent court as required by Facebook authority has been obtained and forwarded to Facebook authorities. Moreover, action against the alleged Facebook profile/page will be taken after receiving of IP and subscriber details from the Facebook authority, USA,” reads FIA’s working paper which was presented before the committee.

The document mentions the name of the Facebook page on which the post was first shared and the investigating agency said the post and related comments have since been removed from the profile, which was pro PML-N.

The investigating agency said that the user seems to have been using a proxy and that the real IP could not be identified.

Talking to Dawn, MNA Dr Hameed said the FIA should resolve the issue in a week and that website which had also published the said picture have been blocked while two people involved have also been identified, according to the FIA.

She said depicting anyone as Lord Shiva is religious terrorism.

“FIRs should be registered against those involved,” she added.

Talking to Dawn, MNA Lal said Lord Shiva is a Hindu god and to show him as a politician is blasphemy. He expressed satisfaction over the progress made by the PTA and FIA in the case so far.

“Two users have been identified and they are not Pakistani. The facts will be clearer after a response is received from Facebook,” he added.

Published in Dawn, May 12th, 2018