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ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary panel Tuesday expressed serious anger over the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA)’s failure to remove blasphemous content from various websites.

The Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology meeting held here under the chairpersonship of Senator Ruksana Zubairi also expressed annoyance over the social media accounts with fake names, and asked the relevant quarters to introduce viable legislation on the subject.

Senator Rehman Malik talking on the agenda item of pension expressed concerns and annoyance over the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication and the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd (PTCL) for not paying the due amount to its pensioners despite Committee’s clear directions and the Senate decision.

He advised to forward a complaint against its management for not following the recommendations of the Senate Committee and also not obeying the orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. He suggested the committee take stern action against those involved in siphoning off the PTET’s assets. He said, “I suggest that after the due procedures we should forward the case to FIA. This is essentially needed as the PTET board and the PTCL management are not even following the decision of Supreme Court, Senate house and this committee to pay the pensions as per law”.

Committee members, jointly expressing grave concerns over the misuse of social media in the country, said that thousands of fake social media accounts are running for various malicious purposes and spreading blasphemous and highly-objectionable material to create uncertainty and chaos among the public. They said that many are operating social media accounts with different names including the names of politicians.

The panel said, “We had arranged hardware for PTA that such objectionable and hateful materials could be removed and the accounts could be blocked immediately; however, about the fate of hardware, PTA can tell either it is operating or still under process.” The panel also expressed serious anger over the absence of the chairman PTA from the meeting, saying the officials are bound to give prior information of their availability to the parliamentary committees, but it has been observed they skip the meetings without giving prior information.

The panel was informed by the PTA officials that the PTA chairman was suffering from coronavirus, therefore could not attend the meeting.

Federal Minister for Information Technology Aminul Haq while briefing the panel said that his ministry will make all out efforts to implement the recommendations of the committee.

Senator Rehman Malik further said that a fake Twitter account is being run in the name of Aitzaz Ahsan on Twitter about which, he has lodged complaints with the FIA and the PTA several times but several months have passed and the said fake account is still active. He said that he as Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior has also taken the notice of the said fake account and has sought a report from the FIA for discussion in the upcoming meeting.

The panel asked that ministry to take serious steps, and must go for legislation on social media to control such things, adding that strict legal action should be taken against those violating cyber laws of the country. He suggested that while dealing with social media, we should replicate the model of Saudi Arabia and the UAE wherein, all mediums of social media are in the control of the government and even a single blasphemous word cannot be posted. He said that even calls on WhatsApp and other social mediums are controlled in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

He said that strict action should be taken against those who post and spread blasphemous, sectarian, offensive, and objectionable material. He expressed that no Muslim can bear blasphemous words about our beloved Prophet (PBUH). He said that the government should talk to social media operators to open their offices in Pakistan that it could be made possible to remove such objectionable material immediately.

Senator Mohammad Ali Saif said that the state was responsible to tackle such things and so far the relevant state departments have miserably failed to do so.

Malik said that revelation by Disinfolab EU and Arnab Goswami’s WhatsApp chat leaks have exposed what Indian PM Narendra Modi was propagating against Pakistan while using the soil of the European Union and other countries.

He said that India successfully launched a conspiracy with billions of dollars to spread fake news and propaganda against Pakistan which was duly exposed by DisinfoLab EU as the “Indian Chronicles”.

He urged that this is a perfect and foolproof case against India to be agitated in the UNSC for necessary legal proceedings against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his baseless allegations against Pakistan. He once again urged that the government should take up this charge sheet to the International Criminal Court for the trial of PM Narendra Modi, his Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat and all Indian authorities responsible for war crimes in the Indian Illegally Occupied Kashmir.

He said, “I am glad to know that now some of our ministers are also stating that Narendra Modi’s face is fully exposed before the world. Yes he is exposed and that I have been doing for years”.

He asked when the government of Pakistan is going to file a petition against Modi as war criminal for his crimes against humanity in the Indian Occupied Kashmir and committing cyber crimes against Pakistan violating the soils of other countries. He said that in this regard, he has already sent irrefutable evidence to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the form of a charge sheet against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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