LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday allowed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to block the websites sharing ‘objectionable material’.

Justice Shujaat Ali Khan was hearing a petition by Hassan Muawiyah who mainly alleged that the Ahmadi community and other non-Muslims continued to publish and upload copies of the Holy Quran with distorted Arabic text and mutilated translation on the Internet and Google Play Store only to mislead the Muslims.

Earlier, a counsel for the PTA told the court that some websites like “Wikipedia” having objectionable material were not registered in Pakistan. He said Wikipedia had been blocked in the country for the same reasons.

On the request of the PTA’s counsel, the judge allowed the authority to close all such websites sharing objectionable content.

The judge adjourned the hearing till Feb 16 and sought a progress report from the PTA.

In the judgement passed in 2019, the high court had ordered the government to ensure the copies of Holy Quran were duly approved by the Quran Board before the publication in press and on the internet.

The court had also directed the Quran Board and the government to have a vigilant eye on publication and printing of any religious material, in particular the Holy Quran against its original text or authentic meaning.

The petitioner submitted that repeated applications had been filed with the home department and police authorities for action against the suspects in light of the 2019 judgement. It said the conduct of the respondent authorities was in violation of the law and the court’s decision.

Published in Dawn, February 7th, 2023

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