No ban on banned outfits on social media
ISLAMABAD – Despite government resolve to end terrorism from the country, banned Jehadi organisations are not only active on social media but using the web to project their agenda.
Among the active websites and blogs, some are mouthpiece of global organisations while some promote local outfits (mostly banned).
Umar Media is one of the sites, which portrays local Taliban. The site is easily accessible throughout the country and search engine google opens a long list of websites and blogs where huge archives can be downloaded and viewed. On the front page, the headline is about deadly Peshawar attack.
“Umar Studio presents a new statement from Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan about the Peshawar attack,” it said.
Jihadepakistan.blogspot.com is another site where loads of literature is available related to TTP and other banned organisations. Jihadology.net is another site, which is devoted to Taliban activities.
Among websites portraying Jehad in the world, All Islamic State is an account (@AllIslamicState) which updates about the activities and achievements of the Jehadi in different parts of the world. Its latest tweet at 8.20 pm (Monday) said that “Iraq’s Christians fear no one can protect them from the Islamic State”.
With more than 4,000 followers, it has 28.4,000 tweets. Not only international and local journalists, politicians and other prominent figures like Hillary Clinton follow this website but it is also followed by Ameer Jamaat Islami Siraj ul Haq.
An account, which claims that it belongs to Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani is among the followers of this site, while politician Nafisa Shah is also following the account.
And the list goes on. The account is also followed by official mouthpiece of Army. Jabhat Al-Nusra EN is another account which promotes Jehad on website. This account is also easily accessible throughout the country. It has 4,000 followers and among other local and international personalities this is also followed by an account, which claims to be run by Jamaat Islami Chief Siraj ul Haq. Saahibulhijratain is another account. Its last tweet is ” Zawahiri & Mullah ‘Umar, heroes of yesterday & foes of today?”.
After Peshawar massacre the government announced National Action Plan and the SIMs verification started in the country.
Ministry of Information Technology also redesigned the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill 2015, and sent back the final draft to the National Assembly Standing Committee after synchronising it with National Action Plan.
Despite the government’s resolve, why these sites of banned organisations are still operative in the country and who has the primary duty to block them, no official has a clear answer to this question.
“Although, apparently, we have been given powers by the government to stop the controversial materials on web, yet the Interior Minister is actually calling the shots in this connection,” a top PTA official told scribe.
Last month the government announced to grant powers of blocking web content to PTA, after it disbanded the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Website Evaluation (IMCWE).
The decision was taken on the recommendations that due to massive surge in scale and scope of contents available on the Internet and resulting in increase in frequency of relevant complaints, the effectiveness of the IMC mechanism was not sufficient to meet the increasing demand. But the PTA officials state that despite the new powers they are powerless. “We can only ban any website or content if someone lodges a complaint with us, we would evaluate it and then would decide to block some contents as we cannot take any action on our own,” the official said.