The Islamabad High Court directs raising issue of banning TikTok in federal cabinet
ISLAMABAD – The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Monday directed the authorities to raise the issue of banning the video-sharing platform TikTok in the federal cabinet.
A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah issued the directions while hearing the matter wherein he had already directed the Secretary Ministry of Information and Technology to submit a report highlighting the policy of the federal government regarding blocking or banning of popular social media platforms merely because a few abuse it. During the hearing, Maryam Farid appeared before the court on behalf of the petitioner and Munawar Iqbal Dogar from Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and Deputy Attorney General Tayyab Shah represented the federation.
The IHC bench inquired from PTA’s lawyer whether the app was being currently used across the country. The counsel for PTA answered that about 99 per cent of the people are using the app in the country through a proxy.
At this, the court questioned that why was the authority so adamant about banning the app if they could not beat technology and also asked why did the PTA want to cut the country off from the world.
“What happened to a previous court order regarding taking advice from the federal cabinet in this regard,” the IHC Chief Justice asked from the PTA lawyer. He asked that has the government given any policy?
When asked if the cabinet has directed for a ban on TikTok, the lawyer said that a meeting in this regard was held on policy issues, however, no directives of imposing a ban were issued.
The IHC CJ remarked that it appeared that in the absence of rules, the PTA has illegally banned the video-sharing application in the country. He warned that it could summon the PTA chairman if court orders are not implemented properly.
He added that the PTA should devise ways to deal with the technological challenges rather than banning the platforms. Later, the court deferred the hearing till September 20 for further proceedings.
In this matter, Muhammad Ashfaq Jutt, Senior Vice President of Pakistan Kickboxing Federation filed the petition through his counsel Mariam Farid Khawaja Advocate. The petitioner filed the writ petition under Article 199 of the Constitution of Pakistan and cited Secretary Cabinet Division, Secretary Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication and the PTA Chairman as respondents.
The petitioner contended that the ban on TikTok was ultra vires the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016, the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-organization) Act, 1996, the fundamental rights as enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan, and the doctrine of Legitimate Expectation under the Law.
Source: The Nation