ISLAMABAD – A petition has been filed in Islamabad High Court seeking closure of social media site Facebook until blasphemous material and pages are deleted permanently.

The Civil Society – through advocate Tariq Asad – in its petition, says that the social media website should be banned until the government has permanently removed all the blasphemous content from the website.

The petitioner stated in his petition that he had filed a petition against posting of blasphemous material on social media and the court took serious notice of it and directed all the concerned departments including Ministry of Interior, Ministry of I.T., Ministry of Information, PTA, Police, and FIA to take immediate action to close/block the pages.

He added that in case serious notice is not taken against the culprits, the people may be provoked and may start a movement throughout the country creating an adverse law and order situation.

The counsel for the petitioner contended that the Chairman PTA had given a statement before this court on 9 March, 2017 that they had closed the pages containing blasphemous material whereas such material in the form of writings, sketches and videos are still being posted on the Facebook continuously against the Holy Prophet (PBUH), Suhab-e-Kram, his wives (Azwaje Mutaharat) and Sacred book of Quran-e-Pak as well as God Almighty.

He maintained that it was not feasible to block all such material by them unless it is informed and indicated by the public sector that new pages have been opened. He said that it may take about three weeks to close such pages, as they did not have sufficient equipment to do that job.

It should be noted here that in May 2010, all the internet service providers in Pakistan were ordered to block Facebook in response to a widely promoted blasphemous event. In September 2012, controversial content on YouTube appeared too, owing to which YouTube was blocked in Pakistan.

Just last week Interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan threatened to block all social media websites that have blasphemous content.