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PTA Blocks Ahmadiyya Website Spreading False Information About Islam

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Now Reading : PTA Blocks Ahmadiyya Website Spreading False Information About Islam

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Friday blocked a US-based website “trueislam.com”, being run by members of Ahmadiyya community, for viewership in the country over charges of making false claims about Islam and propagating blasphemous content.

According to details, PTA had approached the administrator of the website for removal of unlawful online content from the website, being in violation of section 295-A, 298-B, and 298-C of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and per se abuse of Article 260 (3) and Article 31 of the Constitution of Pakistan, which are related to blasphemy.

In accordance with the provisions of Removal and Blocking of Unlawful Online Content (Procedure, Oversight and Safeguard), Rules, 2020 (“Rules”), the administrator of the website was directed to remove the unlawful content.

But before blocking the website, an opportunity of being heard was also given. As the authority said: “The platform was also given an opportunity of hearing (virtual/physical) to explain its position before the authority, which it did not avail.”

The authority said that given the sensitivity of the matter, PTA, in exercise of powers conferred under Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 and the Rules, blocked the website “www.trueislam.com” for viewership in Pakistan.

The Press Release related to this matter was tweeted by PTA.

Soon after this, certain news started appearing in international media related to blocking of this website. To which PTA clarified that action taken by PTA is in accordance with the legal provisions of country laws, applicable in the territory of Pakistan.

Some times ago, The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has declared that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is not empowered to block any website in violation of the due process without hearing the viewpoint of the other party.

Hearing a case related to the blocking of Awami Workers Party’s (AWP) website, the order said the PTA had stated in response to the query that Section 37 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 empowers it to block websites, “without notice or affording an opportunity of hearing to the person who could be adversely affected by an order or action of the authority.”

But the order issued by Islamabad High Court stated, “This interpretation of Section 37 of the Act of 2016 is in flagrant violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution as well as the settled law enunciated by the superior courts”.

The court noted that the principles of natural justice are required to be read into every statute. So this time that opportunity was also provided which the other party did not avail.

In the past also, such websites were blocked for blasphemous content and misinformation about Islam, because it is not allowed as per our Constitution.

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