LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) has directed the federal government, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to remove/block proscribed religious material and unauthentic e-copy of the Quran available on the internet, Google Play Store and other mobile applications.

Justice Shujaat Ali Khan passed this order on a petition questioning inaction of the authorities concerned towards implementation of the Punjab Holy Quran (Printing and Recording) Act, 2011 for error-free publication of the Quran.

The petitioner, Hassan Muawiyah, also alleged that Ahmadi community and other non-Muslims uploaded electronic copies of the Quran with distorted Arabic text and mutilated translation on the internet and Google Play Store only mislead the Muslims.

The order issued by Justice Khan says only websites registered with the PTA and possess certificate from the Quran Board regarding authenticity of the religious material, in particular the Holy Quran, should be allowed to display online the Holy Quran and other religious books of the Muslims.

“All other unregistered websites, displaying such religious material against its original text and literal meaning, be blocked forthwith,” adds the order.

The judge orders the federal government to ensure that the e-copy of Holy Quran, duly approved by the Quran Board, is available at Google Play Store, App Store and Windows Store etc., for reference. He directs the ministry of foreign affairs to take up the matter with managers/owners/operators of the application stores to remove every application containing unauthentic text of the Holy Quran and other religious books of the Muslims.

“The government shall ensure availability of a standard copy of the Holy Quran along with its literal meaning at the federal, provincial, district and tehsil levels, duly approved by respective Quran Boards, to use it as a specimen to determine as to whether any subsequent publication qualifies the test of authenticity of original text of the Holy Quran and its literal meaning,” orders the judge.

Anjuman Ahmadia Pakistan had filed an application to become a party in court which the judge had allowed.

Published in Dawn, March 28th, 2019

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