ISLAMABAD: A report prepared by the cyber crime wing (CCW) of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has revealed a substantial decline in uploading of content related to blasphemy and hate speech on social networking sites.

The CCW submitted the report to Islamabad High Court (IHC) in response to a petition filed against uploading of blasphemous and hate speech content.

As per the report, the FIA and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) last year blocked/removed 167 accounts for uploading blasphemous, hate speech and sectarian content.

This year, 110 such accounts have been removed.

In 2020, 111 accounts were blocked for containing blasphemous material, 47 for hate speech and nine for spreading sectarian hatred. This year, CCW and the PTA blocked 86 accounts for containing blasphemous content, 15 for hate speech and nine for uploading sectarian material.

According to the report, three accused - Nasir Ahmed, Abdul Waheed and Rana Nouman Rafaqt - were sentenced to death on Jan 1, 2021, for uploading blasphemous content.

Another accused, Anwaar Ahmed, has been sentenced to 10 years rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs100,000, the report said.

FIA’s notice to journalist suspended

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah suspended the FIA’s notice issued to journalist Bilal Ghauri.

The court summoned the director CCW on June 30 in person.

The chief justice sought an explanation from the FIA for not implementing an order issued in November last year related to summoning the accused in cyber crime cases.

Justice Minallah had advised the FIA to summon a citizen after completing the homework and should explain the nature and details of the complaint in the call-up notice.

Imaan Zainab Mazari and Usman Warraich advocates represented Mr Ghauri.

Ms Mazari argued that the FIA was misusing Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (Peca). She told the court that the FIA had summoned Mr Ghauri without informing him about any reason.

Justice Minallah remarked that prima facie the FIA is violating the directions issued by the IHC.

He clubbed all the identical petitions and adjourned the matter for June 30.

Published in Dawn, June 26th, 2021

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