Blasphemous net sites blocked
ISLAMABAD, March 21, 2006: The Supreme Court was told on Monday March 20 that all 12 websites displaying sacrilegious cartoons of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) on the internet had been blocked.
Attorney General Makhdoom Ali Khan assured the apex court on behalf of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) that all websites carrying the blasphemous cartoons had been blocked.
Headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, the bench was jointly hearing the petition of Dr Mohammad Imran Uppal and Maulvi Iqbal Haider seeking that the blasphemous cartoons and their depictions on the websites be completely blocked.
The court reiterated its earlier orders by asking the AG to suggest how could the court exercise jurisdiction by bringing the developers and originators of such websites into its domain.
The AG and senior advocate Raja Bashir, representing Pemra (Pakistan Electronic and Media Regulatory Authority), suggested that a senior counsel may be appointed as amicus curie to render a meaningful opinion in this regard.
Advocate Ibrahim Satti, the counsel of Maulvi Iqbal Haider, cited Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code – [punishment by death for using derogatory remarks against the Holy Prophet (PBUH) by words, writing or by any imputation – and said the PTA should be prosecuted for its criminal negligence since sacrilegious websites remained accessible in Pakistan for seven months.
In his petition, Dr Imran Uppal has requested the court to restrain the respondent internet service providers from publishing, transmitting and advertising any site showing the depictions of Holy Prophet (PBUH) to intranets and their subscribers in Pakistan.