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Pakistan threatens social media shutdown

Pakistan’s High Court in Islamabad has ruled that the government must block and close down those social media sites that make or carry blasphemous content. The Court ordered the government to start investigations into online blasphemy.

In a report from BBC Monitoring, the High Court ruled that any such sites must be placed on the country’s Exit Control List (which has the effect of making the sites unavailable for users).

Judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui said, “All of us have to collectively eliminate this evil. Even if we cannot stop this around the world, but in Pakistan we can make sure that no one dare disrespect our sacred personalities of Islam.”

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan urged all social media operators to cooperate with the government on the issue. “We will go to any extent (including) permanently blocking all such social media websites if they refuse to cooperate,” Nisar said in a statement. No country can allow religious sentiments to be hurt or top state functionaries to be subjected to ridicule under what the minister described as “the pretext of freedom of expression.”

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