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Friday, April 12, 2024

Social media ban: Blasphemy or a political reason?

On Monday, the issue of missing bloggers and blasphemous content on social media was discussed again in the parliament.

Farhatullah Babar (PPP) and Senator Usman Kakar (PkMAP) along with Colonel (r) Tahir Mashadi (MQM) pointed out the issue. This issue was supported by the ruling party Senator Nehal Hashmi. They demanded, the parliament should look into the matter, nevertheless, the bloggers should not be pardoned, regardless of their action.

read more: Pakistani Govt’s War against “Social Media”?

The National Assembly speaker and Senate chairman remained neutral during this discussion.

Farhatullah Babar is of the view that the bloggers should be punished in accordance with the law, if they are guilty of committing blasphemy.

Salman Haider and Samar Abbas, the bloggers whom went missing from Islamabad created a massive stir among the public. On what basis/grounds have they been disappeared? What is the reason behind their disappearances? Why are they being condemned in media without any proof and trial?

read more: Pakistan’s ECL to have names of the Social Media Blasphemers

The matter escalated rather quickly in National Assembly on Monday, leading to a blanket ban demand on social media.

Previously, the ban on YouTube was also imposed on the basis of religion and blasphemy. What did not rise to surface was the actual reason behind the ban on YouTube. YouTube in Pakistan was banned due to political reasons, it contained videos of our high-level political figures which they did not want the public to gain access to.

After the ban was removed however, google said, “Where we have launched YouTube locally and we are notified that a video is illegal in that country, we may restrict access to it after a thorough review. Government requests to remove content will continue to be tracked, and included in our transparency report.”

read more: Panama Case: Why German Paper’s disclosure may be extremely damaging for Sharif Family?

Which means if there is any content which can damage a political figures reputation or campaign for that matter, the content will be restricted to viewership instead of banning the website and that too after google has conducted its own investigation.

Similarly, the current issue of banning social media seems to hold same purpose and intent. Religion is being used to arouse religious sentiments of the people in order to gain their support and approval in taking this step, whereas, the motive behind it appears to be different.

Prime Minister’s son-in-law, Mr. Safdar said, “Why are we being forced to lay our lives on the issue? Why PTA does not impose ban on social media? This is going to lead the country towards anarchy.”

read more: Corps Commanders Conference discussed “Dawn Leaks”: Importance?

Referring to his statement, “This is going to lead the country towards anarchy.” How is social media leading to anarchy? Why did implementation of Cyber Crime Act become so important all of a sudden? It was not relevant before heating up of Panama Case hearing and the involvement of Sharif family surfacing.