Body formed to review social media rules

Published March 31, 2021
Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari will be the chairperson of the inter-ministerial committee. — DawnNewsTV/File
Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari will be the chairperson of the inter-ministerial committee. — DawnNewsTV/File

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has constituted an inter-ministerial committee to review the controversial social media rules.

As per a directive issued by the Prime Minister Office on March 29, Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari will be chairperson of the committee comprising Parliamentary Secretary on Law and Justice Maleeka Ali Bukhari, Senator Syed Ali Zafar, Secretary of Information Technology Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui and Chairman of the Pakistan Tele­communication Authority (PTA) retired Maj Gen Amir Azeem Bajwa.

A statement issued by the office of Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan on Tuesday said that the Information Technology and Telecommunication Division would function as the committee’s secretariat. It will submit a report along with its recommendations in the matter to the prime minister within 30 days.

The committee will commence work and its secretariat would intimate public at large of the date and venue for consultations with all stakeholders, including the petitioners who have challenged the social media rules in the Islamabad High Court.

The petitioners — Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists secretary general Nasir Zaidi, the Awami Workers Party, Dawn’s Employees Union, Amber Rahim Shamsi and citizen Mohammad Ashfaq Jatt — contends that the rules are contrary to the freedom of expression as guaranteed in the Constitution.

The IHC chief justice had during a hearing of the petition in January observed that the government did not consult the stakeholders before promulgating the rules.

Published in Dawn, March 31st, 2021

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