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Justice Siddiqui blasts authorities over inaction on blasphemous content

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday reprimanded the federal authorities over their failure to ensure implementation of its judgment with regard to elimination of blasphemous content from the social media websites.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui expressed extreme displeasure over the authorities for failing to implement the court orders in the petition calling for removal of blasphemous content on social networking sites. “Don’t force the court to take tough attitude,” he warned.

Noting that the judgment has not been implemented in letter and spirit, Justice Siddiqui warned that if he had to summon the prime minister in court in this case, he will do.

He directed the interior secretary to turn up before the court along with a comprehensive report on the implementation of the court verdict in next hearing on December 11.

Justice Siddiqui further noted, it appeared that international community has began exerting pressure on the Pakistani government in this regard.

He directed the government to seek help from spy agencies to identify and punish those behind spreading indecent content against the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and other revered personalities.

Earlier, in a detailed order, the IHC had ordered a complete ban on the social networking sites in case their management does not conform to Pakistan laws.

Justice Siddiqui had observed that due to misuse of the law, critics even demanded abolishing it. It was better to stop exploitation instead of doing away with the law, he added.

US Push Pakistan to repeal blasphemy laws

Earlier this week, the United States urged Pakistan to repeal blasphemy laws and also take steps including enacting a legislation to penalize human trafficking.

Jesse Bernstein, representing US at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) held in Geneva on Monday, asked Pakistan to rescind blasphemy laws and grant the visit request of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression.

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif is representing the Pakistani side at the UPR.

The foreign minister outlined the wide range of legislative, institutional, administrative and policy measures to advance and safeguard human rights in Pakistan. While highlighting the substantial progress made, he reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to promote human rights in the spirit of constructive dialogue, engagement and cooperation.

It is pertinent to mention here that the UPR recommendations are not binding, while it is important to take these recommendations, being part of the exercise. Also unlike UN conventions and their implementation, Pakistan has its choice to refuse to accept any recommendation by the working group.

India, represented by Sumit Seth, urged to dismantle special terrorist zones, safe havens and sanctuaries and take verifiable actions, including on “terror financing”.

Pakistan says India is trying to sabotage the UPR platform with propaganda.



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