PTA told to block uploading of ‘obscene material’ on YouTube
By Tahir Siddiqui
KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Wednesday directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to immediately remove and block any “obscene material” uploaded or being uploaded from Pakistan on YouTube, a video-sharing website.
A division bench comprising Justices Amir Hani Muslim and Syed Zakir Hussain passed this order while hearing a constitutional petition of a man whose young daughter’s fake photographs were uploaded on the website.
The petition was filed against the project director of the National Response Centre for Cyber Crimes and the additional director of the Federal Investigation Agency for not taking action against the accused involved in the cyber crime.
The bench directed the PTA chairman to immediately convey the court order to all concerned. “In case, if such material remains available on the website and or uploaded in future from Pakistan, we will hold the officials of the PTA responsible of the same and such officials of the PTA shall also be exposed to criminal prosecution,” it warned.
The bench also directed the petitioner, a resident of Mirpurkhas, to implead the PTA chairman as one of the respondents, who included the petitioner’s distant cousin, an inspector of the Intelligence Bureau.
The petitioner, represented by Advocate Fayyaz Samor, submitted that Faheem Mughal fraudulently obtained pictures of his 16-year-old daughter from the mobile phone of his 12-year-old son. The suspect prepared a video using reproduced images and adding objectionable features.He stated that the fake photographs and video ruined the life of his innocent daughter, who stopped going to college because of harassment. He alleged that despite lodging complaints with the FIA and the Cyber Crime police station, Karachi, neither the accused was arrested nor the obscene video removed from the website.
He submitted that accused Mughal, who posed himself to be an official of a law-enforcement agency, was blackmailing the petitioner’s daughter into accepting his friendship proposal.
He stated that one Babar Shah, an inspector of the IB, had influence with the local police, who were not lodging his FIR.
On Monday, the DPO of Mirpurkhas produced Faheem Mughal in court in compliance with a previous order.
While recording his statement on oath in court, the petitioner submitted that Mughul sent a floppy containing fake and objectionable pictures of his daughter prepared by using a computer programme.
He said that he lodged a complaint with the cyber crime unit of the FIA on April 23.
The petitioner, a bank officer, said that Mughul (respondent No 4) who sent the floppy to his house was a friend of his cousin’s son.
He said that Inspector Babar Shah later came to his house and told him that his son’s friend had committed a mistake, but he had assured that he would not embarrass his daughter anymore.
However, the petitioner said, the respondent No 4 started sending text messages on his daughter’s cellphone when he was posted out of Mirpurkhas.
He said his family members complained to Inspector Babar Shah against the respondent No 4 who was continuously sending obnoxious text messages.
He said that on April 9 a man, introducing himself as Faheem Mughal, phoned at his house and told his wife that his daughter’s objectionable photographs had been uploaded on YouTube.
He alleged that his cousin’s son, Noman Shah, played a role in the whole affair.
The petitioner said that later he wrote a letter to the FIA’s cyber crime officer in Islamabad. The cyber crime office advised him to approach the FIA’s cyber crime wing in Karachi.
However, he said, the objectionable material was blocked with the help of the cyber crime wing.
Later, he said, on May 31 two motorcyclists came to his house and resorted to firing into the air on the instigation of Noman Shah and the respondent No 4.
Earlier, he said Babar Shah had approached him with the proposal of Noman Shah for his daughter, but he turned down the proposal.
He said that prior to the firing incident at his house, the mother and sister of the respondent No 4 came to his house and told his family that Babar Shah and Noman Shah were in fact behind the humiliation of his family.
He prayed to the court to order action against them.
The bench in its order said that cognizable offences were made out from the contents of the petitioner’s statement. “We accordingly direct the DPO, Mirpurkhas, to register FIR against the persons named by the petitioner,” it ordered.
The bench also directed the DPO to assign the investigation of the case to an honest officer not below the rank of DSP “who shall arrest the accused persons unless they get bail from a court of law”.
The bench further warned: Â“If any harassment is caused either to the petitioner or to any of his family members in any manner whatsoever, we will hold the DPO, Mirpurkhas, personally responsible.”
It also directed the director of the IB at Karachi to hold an inquiry into the allegations. “We expect that during inquiry the said inspector shall be posted out from district Mirpurkhas to avoid any possible influence on the local police who would be investigating the matter against him and others,” the bench observed in the order and put off the hearing till June 22.
The court also directed Mughul to execute a personal bond in the sum of Rs100,000 with the SHC Nazir. “He can only leave the court after executing the personal bond,” it ordered.
The court ordered the FIA to register a case against the accused persons, if a case is made out from the contents of the statement of the petitioner. After conducting an investigation the police and FIA shall submit a charge-sheet in the respective courts of law, it ordered.
The court directed Standing Counsel Shahab Sarki to get in touch with the PTA chairman over the phone or fax and intimate this order.