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Punjab PA passes resolution against blasphemous content on social media

By Amer Malik
January 01, 2020

LAHORE: Punjab Assembly has unanimously passed a resolution against blasphemous content on social media with recommendation to follow Saudi Arabian model to prevent spread of sacrilegious content.

Punjab Minister for Mines and Minerals and PML-Q MPA Ammar Yasir had submitted the resolution in this regard during Tuesday’s session chaired by Panel of Chairmen Mian Shafi.

The resolution demanded from federal government to adopt and implement a centralised online system, enforced in Saudi Arabia, for screening and filtration on social media to check and block blasphemous content before uploading on all social media platforms including YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc. “Certain blasphemers are uploading blasphemous material on social media platforms in the name of freedom of speech and they must be dealt with iron hands under the law,” the resolution demanded, while pointing out that such blasphemous content was also available in international print and electronic media outlets.

The resolution also pointed out that certain importers were also involved in heinous act of importing books containing blasphemous material, which hurt the feelings of Muslims not just in Pakistan but all over the world.

It recommended immediate confiscating of books containing blasphemous matter, banning their imports, and initiation of action against persons involved in producing such blasphemous literature.

The resolution also demanded of federal government to make legislation that ensures all local or foreign with religious content to seek clearance certification from a united body of Ulema and Federal Ministry of Religious Affairs and Inter-faith Harmony before allowing their publication and sale in the markets or running or uploading on all modes of communication online or social media platforms.

The resolution said that the laws already existed in Pakistan to stop and prevent blasphemous behaviour, words and content against last Prophet of Allah, Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH), all Holy Prophets (PBUH), Sahaba-e-Karam (RA), Ummahaat-ul-Momineen (RA) and Ahl-e-Bait (RA), but unfortunately, they were never enforced in true spirit.

The resolution, therefore, demanded that Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 and Sections 295 and 298 of PPC must be enforced in true letter and spirit, while appealing to the federal government to urgently make necessary amendment, if necessary, to take stringent action against culprits involved in committing this heinous act of blasphemy.

PPP Parliamentary Leader Syed Hasan Murtaza pointed out that sugar mills stopped purchase of sugarcane during crushing season without any announcement, which has rendered farmers in state of disbelief and disappointment. He said that almost 80 per cent of parliamentarians from South Punjab earn their livelihood from agriculture. He said that, after hike in electricity tariff, the prices of petrol were also going to be increased, adding that now this halt in sale of sugarcane had made matters worse for the growers in the province.

He criticised that Prime Minister Imran Khan had awarded ‘NRO’ to his businessmen friends but increasing hardships for the growers and farmers, which reflected current government’s double standards and negation of its own slogan of “Do Nahi, Aik Pakistan”.

He also criticised Chief Minister Usman Buzdar for not attending Punjab Assembly sessions, which created a pandemonium in the Assembly with members of treasury and opposition raising slogans against each other’s leadership.

Punjab Law Minister Muhammad Raja Basharat tried to clarify that buying of sugarcane was not stopped everywhere in Punjab, which infuriated the opposition, tore the copies of agenda and dubbed him a ‘liar’. However, the law minister condemned opposition’s non-parliamentary language against the chief minister, saying Usman Buzdar was the most honest Chief Minister of Punjab. “The opposition is frustrated due to CM’s welfare works for the people of Punjab,” he added.

But when the law minister failed to pacify the opposition then he also retorted in the same coin saying “Your CM was a thief, your CM’s brother was a thief, your CM’s son was a thief, and your CM had destroyed the province in the last 10 years”.

Parliamentary Secretary Information Nadeem Qureshi also felicitated Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar for doing maximum legislation in a year in the history of Punjab Assembly.

During the members’ shouts and slogans in the Assembly, Panel of Chairmen Mian Shafi prorogued year’s last session for an indefinite period of time after felicitating “Happy New Year” to the members and press gallery.