ISLAMABAD – Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Wednesday directed Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to formulate standard operating procedures (SOPs) for promoting positivity through social media.

Chairing a high-level meeting in capital, the minister directed that initial draft of the SOPs should be prepared in a week’s time for further consideration.

He also directed National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) and PTA to review relevant laws and regulatory frameworks of neighboring democratic countries and that of the developed nations for “devising a system that ensures freedom of expression while simultaneously checking unbridled misuse of social media”.

The PTA was also directed to consult all stakeholders including service-providers, civil society, mainstream media and others, for setting guidelines, duly supported by the legal framework, to regulate use of social media for constructive purposes and nation- building process.

The minister requested speaker National Assembly to convene a meeting of representatives of all political parties for consensus for ensuring positive use of social media.

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He also asked the Foreign Office to get in touch with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary General for convening a meeting at OIC level on the issue of blasphemous content on social media as per the commitment given to the minister by the secretary general during his last visit to Pakistan.

“Pakistan is willing to play the host of OIC conference,” he added.

The legislator said that being a democratic government it was our obligation to ensure and protect the right of every citizen for freedom of expression.

“We are equally bound by law and the Constitution to protect our citizens and institutions from assault which is carried out through social media under garb of the freedom of expression,” Nisar said.

The interior minister observed that no conscientious person could be a silent spectator to threat which is posed to our socio-cultural values, institutions, our younger generations by a section of social media.

“The right to free speech is stitched to the sense of responsibility and ownership,” he observed

Secretary interior, chairman PTA, Advocate General, chairman Nadra, Inspector General of Police, Islamabad and senior officials of Federal Investigation Agency participated in the meeting.

The PML-N led federal government has already issued warning to social media buffs to avoid sharing blasphemous content and posts aimed at targeting state institutions especially Pak Army.

The Federal Investigation Agency also summoned a few active social media users to interrogate them over their online activities. -APP