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Friday April 12, 2024

X closure: Govt says content on internet threatens national security

"Let interior secretary come then we will see. If [nothing happens even then] then we will summon the PM," says IHC CJ

By Awais Yousufzai
April 03, 2024
A representational image of the social media platform Xs logo. — AFP/File
A representational image of the social media platform X's logo. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The federal government, while presenting its argument in the case pertaining to the closure of social media platform X, has said that the content on the internet poses a threat to the country's national security.

The remarks were made by the Interior Ministry's joint secretary during the Islamabad High Court (IHC) hearing of the journalist Ehtesham Abbasi's petition regarding the closure of X, formerly Twitter, on Wednesday.

The federal government's point of view comes as social media users in Pakistan have been unable to access the renowned social media platform since its suspension on February 17.

During today's hearing, the Interior Ministry's joint secretary appeared before IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq who was hearing the plea and submitted a report in the court.

The court asked if there was any written communication regarding the closure of X.

"What is this method? What is this attitude? Assist the court," said the IHC CJ, adding that everything is "closed and jammed".

The court told the joint secretary that he should give in writing what was the threat to the national security and not just make verbal statements in the court.

"Show us the documents. There will be no verbal conversation," asserted Justice Farooq.

The CJ said that his secretary would make a better report than this one. At this, the joint secretary told IHC CJ Farooq to look at the other page.

At this point, the IHC CJ asked if this was the joint secretary's first time appearing before the court.

The secretary told the court that the content uploaded on the internet is a threat to the national security.

The court said that there must be evidence regarding the threat. "You closed X on the Intelligence Bureau's (IB) report. There are no reasons written in it, only a report based on speculation," it added.

Justice Farooq asked the joint secretary to submit any other verdicts by other courts regarding this matter. Later, the court summoned the interior secretary on April 17.

"There is malice in every institution," said IHC CJ Farooq, adding that now that the elections are over, this matter should end now.

"Let the interior secretary come then we will see. If [nothing happens even then] then we will summon the prime minister," he added.

At this, the joint secretary requested the court to not summon any high official, seeking another chance.