PTA put on notice over Internet censorship
The Sindh High Court on Tuesday issued notices to the Ministry of Information Technology and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority on a petition challenging the censorship and blockade of websites and online forums containing political views.
The petitioner, Ayesha Tammy Haq, and others submitted that the respondents were illegally blocking and censoring access to various websites and online forums that criticised the workings of state institutions.
The online portals criticised government policies, hefty expenditures and the budgetary allocation to the armed forces.They submitted that the actions of the respondents were illegal and the websites had been blocked without issuing prior notice to their owners. The petitioners believed that the PTA was intending to develop a national level URL filtering and blocking system in the country. This, they believe, would be used to suppress constructive criticism and the circulation of information that could benefit the general public.
Ayesha Tammy Haq and the other petitioners urged the court to direct the respondents to ensure that no website, online publication, forum or any other content be blocked without prior notice. They also submitted that public objections should be invited before any such action is taken.
After the preliminary hearing of the petition, an SHC’s division bench, headed by Justice Maqbool Baqar, issued notices to the Ministry of Information Technology and the PTA, seeking their comments on May 7.
Plea against ban on pillion ridding The Sindh High Court issued notices to the home secretary, inspector general (IG) Sindh and others on a petition against the ban on pillion riding in the city.
Petitioner Rana Faizul Hasan challenged the decision of the Sindh government to ban pillion riding in the city based on the law and order situation. He submitted that the impugned action was against the fundamental rights of citizens and the poor people were facing hardships due to the restriction. He submitted that the notification paralysed the life of the poor people traveling long distances to earn their livelihood. The petitioner said that the lack of a proper infrastructure and increase in transport fares were making life miserable for commuters.
He prayed to the court to strike down the notification to ban pillion riding as it deprived around two million people from a mode of daily transport. An SHC’s division bench, headed by Justice Faisal Arab, after preliminary hearing, issued notices to the Sindh chief secretary, the Home Department and others. It called for their comments on May 11.
Plea for quashment of FIR
The SHC restrained the police from harassing or arresting a couple in a kidnapping case and issued notices to the Sindh advocate general and the SHO Shahra-e-Noor Jehan police station.
The interim order came on a petition of Zeeshan Shaheed Opel, who submitted that he and Gulnaz married of their free will on January 12, but his wife’s family members were against the union and registered a kidnapping case against him and his family members.
The petitioner feared for his life as he and his family members were facing death threats. He prayed to the court to direct the police to provide protection and quash criminal proceedings against him and his family members. The court, issuing a restraining order to the police, adjourned the hearing till May 2.