Notices issued on plea for permanent ban on Facebook
KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Wednesday issued notices to the secretary for the ministry of Haj and religious affairs, the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority on a petition seeking a permanent ban on an international social networking website in the country for posting blasphemous material.
Advocate Shoa-un-Nabi filed a petition in which he stated that Facebook had prompted massive demonstrations across the Muslim world by posting blasphemous caricatures of the Prophet (Peace be upon him).
He submitted that after the people of Pakistan took to the streets and staged protest demonstrations the website was temporarily blocked. But it was no solution because shocking incidents had happened in the past and could recur in the future.
The petitioner also contended that the internet had become a supplier of pornographic material, violating Pakistan’s laws.
He said the PTA and PBC were the regulating authorities of the print and electronic media and they could easily block access to Facebook and other websites exclusively providing obscene material.
The petitioner further submitted that in countries such as China and India, multinational companies were bound to open their regional offices. But the companies committing blasphemous acts had no offices in Pakistan, thus they could not be prosecuted for such offences.
Arguments in favour of freedom of speech and expression hardly had any merit because such material had no constructive and bona-fide use, he added.He requested the court to order a permanent ban on Facebook and direct the respondents to bind the multinational companies operating in Pakistan to open their offices here. The division bench of the SHC comprising acting Chief Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar put the respondents on notice for a date to be fixed later by the court office.