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Sohail Khan
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
From Print Edition
 
 

 

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday directed Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to immediately block all links to the anti-Islam film and submit a report to the Registrar.

 

A three-member bench of the apex court comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain gave an order in a Civil Miscellaneous Application (CMA) filed by M Akram Sheikh and Taufiq Asif, senior advocates, wherein the attention of the court was drawn towards the anti Islam film “Innocence of Muslims.”

 

The applicants had stated that this film, which contains disrespectful material regarding the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), was injurious to the feelings of every Muslim but was still available on the website.

 

They contended that the PTA was under legal obligation to control such matters but had failed to perform its statutory duties, and so direction be issued to the PTA to block the above film on the YouTube website and refrain in future for allowing such material to be displayed.

 

Meanwhile, Waseem Tauqeer, Director General Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), appeared before the court and submitted that in view of the complaints the PTA received on a daily basis, it had already blocked 750-800 links of the anti-Islam film. He contended that the PTA had issued toll free numbers for registering complaints and worked day and night receiving public calls in this regard. He informed the court that the PTA had also dispatched letters to YouTube as well; however, he said that the country had no treaty with YouTube.

 

Justice Jawad S Khawja asked the DG PTA whether the government was taking any steps in this regard. The DG PTA said he had no knowledge of this but maintained that being the regulating body, the PTA had already blocked 750-800 links of the anti-Islam film.

 

Later, the chief justice directed him to ensure that all links of the anti-Islam film were blocked and submit a report with the Registrar of the apex court.Meanwhile, the PTA has reportedly directed 17 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) throughout the country to block links to the anti-Islam film.

 

In compliance with the Supreme Court orders, the PTA summoned a meeting of its task force to ensure that the anti-Islam movie remained blocked on the Internet, says a PTA statement.