ISLAMABAD: Minister for Interior, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Tuesday reiterated that spread of blasphemous and sacrilegious contents through social media has caused deep concern and resentment amongst Pakistanis, saying this is intolerable for any Muslim.
He said for last few months very offensive and indescribable blasphemous content was being circulated on social media which was unacceptable. People of Pakistan were very concerned and provoked because of this disrespectful material and dishonouring of the most sacred personalities.
The Minister was talking to Secretary General, Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC), Dr. Yousaf Ahmed at Punjab House who called on him here.
Secretary Interior, Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and senior officials of OIC Secretariat and Ministry of Foreign Affairs were also present during the meeting.
Chaudhry Nisar said Pakistanis feel deeply hurt that Islamic world so far has not taken notice of the matter in an effective manner and added this issue does not concern Pakistan alone but related to entire Muslim Ummah.
He said Pakistan on its part has raised the issue with international service providers and has achieved some successes in curbing such content on social media, but effective and long-term solution of the issue would be achieved only when joint efforts by Islamic world are made.
He called upon for formulating a unified plan of action at level of OIC and a concrete strategy to ensure its implementation.
The Minister also called upon OIC to become voice of Muslim Ummah for curbing blasphemous contents and added protection of respect and sanctity of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was not only religious and legal duty of all countries comprising OIC but the Muslims all across the world expect OIC to convey their sentiments and reservations on all international forums.
The Minister said, besides, raising voice on all platforms including United Nations, indigenous technical resources of OIC must be utilized to check propagation of sacrilegious contents through Internet, especially in social media.
Chaudhry Nisar called for institutional mechanism to pool technical resources of Muslim world, adding that the entire Muslim Ummah must join hands to press upon social media service providers to ensure that effective measures are in place to filter and preclude uploading of such contents.
The Minister said that unified stance and joint measures should be taken by all OIC members.
He also called for a joint strategy at level of OIC to ensure that legal action is taken against all those involved in spreading hate and sacrilegious material.
He said that OIC should chalk out a mechanism so that the concerned governments could be approached for taking legal action against violators.
The Minister said the manner in which our most revered personalities are being defiled was intolerable and unacceptable.
At a time when the entire world is combating terrorism and is trying to overcome tendency towards extremism and fanaticism, such a tendency would fan flames of hatred among religions and promote extremism, thus further widening the gulf between various nations and religious communities.
The Minister reiterated his call that there can be no dual standards regarding freedom of expression, saying that international community must realize that addressing the concerns of the Muslims was critical to discourage extremist elements and to ensure international peace.
The Minister said the investigations into the matter has established that such contents are mostly uploaded from foreign countries and some elements residing in foreign countries provide financial support and other resources to those who are into propagating blasphemous contents.
Various steps taken by the government of Pakistan to block blasphemous contents on social media and various other issues concerning OIC also came under discussion.
On issue of Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir, the Minister appreciated continued support of OIC to principled stance of government of Pakistan and observed that in order to suppress legitimate right of self- determination, the blood of innocent Kashmiris was being spilled with the backing of the Indian state.
He said that the grave situation in Indian occupied Kashmir, growing atrocities and genocide of people of Kashmir should be a matter of concern to international community, especially for proponents of human rights who are silent over serious violations of human rights.
The pendency of the issue since past seven decades raises question mark over role and effectiveness of international forums that deal with dispute resolution.
OIC Secretary General appreciated steps taken by the government and especially the efforts of Interior Minister to curb spread of blasphemous material.
Noting blocking of some websites and page carrying sacrilegious contents, he congratulated the Minister over these successes.
Reiterating continued support of OIC to Pakistan on issue of Kashmir, Secretary General observed that Kashmir issue was not just a regional issue but issue of human rights violations and the right of self-determination of people of Kashmir.