ISLAMABAD: Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir Shehryar Khan Afridi on Thursday directed the chief of Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) to take legal action against Facebook over the ‘selective steps’ it took against Pakistani and Kashmiri social media activists.
Chairing a meeting of the committee, Mr Afridi wondered why PTA officials did not take action against the Facebook management and why the social media platform was not blocked in Pakistan after the website did not comply with the government’s directives.
Officials of the foreign affairs ministry, a delegation of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) and others attended the meeting. Chaudhry Zafar, the president of Canada-Pakistan Global Congress, also attended the session virtually.
The committee unanimously adopted two resolutions that denounced the recent Indian manoeuvres and army deployment in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and the recent terrorist attack on a Muslim family in Canada.
The committee also approved a roadmap involving foreign visits for lobbying on Kashmir.
The committee was briefed by PTA chairman retired Maj Gen Amir Azeem Bajwa on the action taken against the Facebook management over the recent suspension of accounts and pages of Pakistani users.
He said the PTA had sensitised the social media platform towards the concerns of Pakistanis and Kashmiris about censorship of human rights activists writing about the situation in occupied Kashmir.
However, the committee’s chairman confronted Mr Bajwa and asked him why the managements of Facebook and Twitter had not set up their offices in Pakistan yet.
Mr Afridi also referred to a Facebook statement about suspension of several accounts and pages of Pakistani users and asked the PTA chief what action his organisation had taken against the Facebook team.
He also asked why Facebook’s representatives had refused to attend the instant meeting and directed the PTA head to ensure that Facebook’s staff do attend the panel’s next meeting.
Mr Afridi ordered that all the stakeholders be invited to the committee’s next meeting to deal with the outstanding issues.
Syed Faiz Naqshbandi, the convener of APHC, lauded Mr Afridi’s instructions and said that Kashmiris were generally very happy over the diplomatic overtures of the government of Pakistan.
He briefed the committee’s members on the latest developments taking place in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and said there were rumours that India was planning to move the capital of the territory from Muslim-majority Srinagar to Hindu-majority Jammu in a bid to consolidate its occupation.
The committee, while taking notice of reports emanating from occupied Kashmir about a military buildup and some new conspiracy being hatched to further divide and bifurcate the state of Jammu and Kashmir, warned the Indian government against any further illegal action in violation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions to change the demography of the disputed and occupied territories.
Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2021