LHC CJ disposes of petition seeking ban on Facebook


LAHORE – Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice (CJ) Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry on Monday disposed of a petition seeking a ban on social networking site Facebook and other websites for displaying blasphemous caricatures and anti-Islam material. The court announced the verdict after Deputy Attorney General Naveed Inayat Malik informed the court that the federal government is taking all steps to block anti-Islam websites. He said that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and the Federal Information Technology (IT) Ministry are blocking all websites containing blasphemous material. Naveed said that an inter-ministerial committee is screening websites to block access of anti-Islam material.
Petitioner Azhar Siddique argued that intentions of the federal government could be judged from the fact that despite the court’s earlier order, the Foreign Office has not yet submitted its report on steps taken to protest against Facebook at the UN and the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC). The LHC CJ replied that the federal government should be given a chance in this regard.
The court also directed the deputy attorney general that the inter-ministerial committee be directed to keep the additional registrar judicial informed about its operations and steps against objectionable websites on a regular basis. The LHC CJ observed that if the PTA and the ministry concerned fail to fulfill their responsibilities, the petitioner might file a new petition.
About the petitioner’s FIR registered under Section 295 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) at the Civil Lines Police Station, Lahore against the owners of Facebook for committing blasphemy, the court directed the police to investigate the matter and dispose of the same in a logical way.