KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Friday lifted the suspension it had imposed a few days ago on social media platform TikTok and directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to address a complaint of plaintiff.

An SHC single-judge bench headed by Justice Kausar Sultana Hussain recalled its June 28 interim order regarding suspension of access to the video-sharing app after the PTA and a federal law officer undertook to deicide a complaint against the app for “spreading immorality and obscenity” on July 5.

The PTA through its lawyer moved an application and requested the bench to discharge or set aside its earlier interim order on the ground that the complaint of plaintiff was fixed for hearing on July 5.

The counsel as well as additional attorney general also assured the bench that the complaint will be decided on July 5.

“Accordingly, interim injunction order dated 28.06.2021 is hereby recalled with direction to the defendant No.2 [PTA] that complaint of the plaintiff should be decided on 05.07.2021. In case of its failure to do so, the plaintiff is at liberty to agitate his application under order XXXIX rule 1 & 2 read with section 151 CPC once again on 08.07.2021 when the matter is already fixed,” the bench in its order said.

On June 28, the bench through an interim order had directed the PTA to suspend access to TikTok app till July 8 and issued notices to the PTA and management of the app after a plaintiff contended that it was “spreading immorality and obscenity” in the country.

The plaintiff, Kamran Mujeeb, had submitted that on account of excessive and continuous spread of immorality and obscenity, the Peshawar High Court had imposed a ban on the operations of TikTok in March, but lifted it on the next hearing after a representative of the PTA argued that the TikTok management had assured the regulatory body that they would regulate the content posted on TikTok in Pakistan in line with local laws.

However, he contended that the app was paying no heed to the undertakings and assurances as it had recently started a social media campaign “LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Pride Month”. After being aggrieved by this, he filed a complaint on June 14 under rule 5 of Removal and Blocking of Unlawful Online Contents Rules 2020 before the PTA, asking it to impose an immediate ban on TikTok, but to no avail so far.

Published in Dawn, July 3rd, 2021

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