ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court (IHC) has directed the Ministry of Interior to place the names of all bloggers on the Exit Control List (ECL) who allegedly uploaded alle-ged blasphemous contents on social media.
Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui while hearing the petition seeking blockade of websites and web pages containing the alleged blasphemous material, ordered to charge the persons responsible with the relevant provisions of the law.
During proceedings, many officials admitted that they could not even go through the whole material.
Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui said those who do not fulfill criteria prescribed under the law to be a Muslim should not be made a part of the whole process.
The secretary interior informed the court regarding unavailability of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan as he has recently gone through eye surgery.
He assured the court that "action will be taken in accordance with the law against the culprits involved in this malicious and disgusting campaign."
The entire government machinery will be put into motion to stop such activities, he added.
The PTA chairman said that elimination of blasphemous material and pages while searching roughly 1.4 billion pages is a huge task, whereby shutting down social media might not help as the pages could be reached through different proxies. He added that pages are being removed with the help of the Facebook officials.
Justice Siddiqui, however, directed to set up teams for monitoring and scrutiny of blasphemous material as well as removal of such contents.
The court ordered the secretary interior and other officials to submit a progress report on March 9 (today). In addition, the court ordered the PTA chairman to submit a report regarding steps already taken and to be initiated on March 9.
Petitioner Salman Shahid through his counsel Tariq Asad had approached the IHC saying blasphemy was being committed through certain pages on social media.
The petitioner alleged that five bloggers - Professor Salman Haider, Ahmed Waqas Goraya, Asim Saeed, Ahmed Raza Naseer and Samar Abbas - created pages like 'Bhainsa' 'Mochi' and 'Roshni' to commit blasphemy through these pages.
On February 27, the court had ordered authorities to block 'blasphemous' pages on social media and directed some key government officials to submit a reply within a week and appear in person before the court on the next hearing.
The petitioner has prayed the court to direct the respondents to block all such pages on social media, initiate legal proceedings against the administrators while Ministry of Interior may be directed not to influence the legal proceedings. The IHC ordered the Interior Ministry on Tuesday to eliminate blasphemous pages from social media at any cost.