Thursday, March 9, 2017

Pakistan: Interior Minister threatens to block all social media websites due to 'blasphemous content'


"Those who refuse to cooperate will be banned. Let it be known that no compromise whatsoever would be made over blasphemy and terrorism."

Times of Ahmad | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: AT/TOA / Agencies
By AT/TOA Staff | March 9, 2017

ISLAMABAD – Federal Minister for Interior, Chaudry Nisar Ali khan has warned that the government will ban social media networks if the contents deemed blasphemous could not be censored at the source.

The issue of blasphemous contents in the social media reached a tipping point Wednesday when Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) made his personal sentiments part of his legal views as to how he feels about blasphemy and how he would like to deal with the would-be blasphemers.

Justice Siddiqui, a hardliner in his approach towards blasphemy law of Pakistan, comes with background in Namoos-e Risalat and Khatm-e Nubuwwat activism, two notorious groups known for stirring mischief against Pakistani minorities in the blasphemy law context.

Justice Siddiqui, who's sometimes known as a go-to judge for the ruling party as well as well as the Sunni clerics supported by the current government when seeking favorable rulings, made his remarks while hearing a case about 'blasphemy in the social media' brought by the infamous hardline Red Mosque.

The blasphemer label is commonly applied by the clerics in order to settle personal scores and silence criticism..

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar reportedly took immediate note of the wishes expressed by the IHC Judge and issued a directive to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to ban websites that won’t cooperate with the government in the conservatives latest crackdown on the so-called 'online blasphemy'.

"Those who refuse to cooperate will be banned," warned the federal minister. "Let it be known that no compromise whatsoever would be made over blasphemy and terrorism."

According to Pakistani media outlet Dunya News, Chaudhry Nisar also revealed that software would soon be made to identify websites that are involved in the spread of online blasphemy.

Many believe that instead of presiding over the Wednesday\s hearing at the Islamabad High Court, Justice Siddiqui should have moved to recuse himself from the case because in 2007 he represented Mullah Abdul Aziz who was charged in multiple cases in connection with the Lal Masjid terrorism standoff with the then government of General Pervez Musharraf.


-- Pakistan: Interior Minister threatens to block all social media websites with 'blasphemous content'


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