Islamabad HC warns Pak govt over anti-blasphemy measures

Islamabad: The Islamabad High Court has warned the Pakistan government to implement its order in a week in a case related to uploading of blasphemous content on social media.

The court said it will summon the Pakistan Prime Minister and other cabinet ministers if they fail to implement its orderwithin the given time frame.

“If the same attitude continues [to be] exhibited by the executive, this court [will] issue directions for personal appearance of the worthy prime minister of Pakistan, ministers for law, religious affairs and information technology, to face contempt of court proceedings,” the Dawn quoted Justice Siddiqui, as saying in his order.

“Respondents may realise this aspect that in contempt matters, no protection under Article 248 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan is available,” the judge added.

The High Court’s order came after the government failed to submit a compliance report in line with its judgement of March 31.

The court had given directives to the government to deal with the proliferation of blasphemous content on social media.

Justice Siddiqui expressed displeasure over the government’s response to its directions.

Last month, the United States asked Pakistan to abolish its blasphemy laws at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) held in Geneva.

Representatives from the US and the United Kingdom stressed on religious intolerance and human rights violations and abuses in Pakistan.

While US representative Jesse Bernstein emphasised on the urgent need of an anti-trafficking law that prohibits and penalises all forms of human trafficking, UK representative Miriam Shearman agreed with the issue of Pakistan’s lack of freedom for religious minorities.

The US representative recommended that Pakistan must “undertake, track and report” investigation and prosecution of security forces who commit human rights violations.

“We are also concerned about the International NGOs policy restricting operations of non-violent organisations,” Bernstein said.

The UK representative recommended that Pakistan should establish an independent National Commission for Minorities from all faith communities, who should be allowed to appoint their own representatives. (ANI)