Blasphemous materials on social media: IHC asks FIA, PTA to take action
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday directed Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to take action against people involved in uploading blasphemous materials on social media. A divisional bench of the IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhter Kayani issued the directions while announcing its reserved verdict in an intra court appeal against the decision of a single member bench regarding the issue.
Petitioner Hafiz Ihtesham Ahmad stated in his petition that he is aggrieved of inaction on part of the respondents for taking appropriate action against the blasphemy committed on the social media. The petitioner’s counsel contended that since the matter is serious, hence an across the board action is required to be taken against the culprits. It was further contended that the direction may be issued that the respondents should treat the matter with grave urgency.
In the verdict, the bench noted that in similar circumstances, a petition was filed before this court, which resulted in celebrated judgment reported as “Salman Shahid vs Federation of Pakistan” (PLD 2017 Islamabad 2018). The relief sought in the referred petition was almost the same is sought in the instant case. The dual bench added that while deciding the abovementioned case gave directions for doing the needful to ensure that blasphemy of any kind is not committed on social media.
“The judgment of this court is comprehensive and takes into account all aspects of the matter and in view of the same respondents No 5 & 6 (FIA and PTA) which are the concerned authorities have the responsibility to take stern action against the wrong doers. Even if the acts of blasphemy are recurrent, respondents No 5 & 6 are directed to take action on ongoing basis,” said the judgment. It added, “While doing the needful, pursuant to the respective laws and directions of this court, if Respondent No 5&6 need even assistance of other Ministries/ Government Functionaries it may do so in light of PLD 2017 Islamabad 2018 supra.”
The IHC bench further said, “In view of foregoing, instant appeal is disposed of in light of the above observation. It is observed that along with the writ petition documents/ material has been placed on record, which is blasphemous in its very nature.