ISLAMABAD -  The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has summoned Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to appear before the court in person on Wednesday (today) on a contempt of court petition. The petitioner contended that the authorities including the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) have failed to comply with the court order for blocking pages or websites containing blasphemous material on the social media.

IHC judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui issued the order on Tuesday while taking up a contempt petition moved by a citizen, Salman Shahid, through his counsel Tariq Asad.

In his order, Justice Siddiqui noted, “This matter requires immediate attention, otherwise, the patience of the followers of Holy Prophet (PBH) may run out of control. Due to delicacy, importance and seriousness of the issue, let honourable Minister of Interior, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan be directed to appear in person for tomorrow, who is expected to take some steps in his own supervision to eliminate this evil, even at the cost of blocking the entire social media.”

During the hearing, Islamabad Police Inspector General assured the court that he was ready to take action if the court passes an order.

Tears rolled down the face of Justice Siddiqui when he dictated the order and observed that “Hazrat Muhammad (SAW) who will be our saviour on the Day of Judgment is the most sacred personality and blasphemy has been committed against him. We would not leave this issue for the bureaucracy to handle”.

The judge observed that “there will be proceedings against blasphemers and against those who remained silent spectators. This is the greatest form of terrorism and people involved in this heinous act were the biggest terrorists”.

The judge also noted, “It is shameful that delicate and sensitive matters remained unattended by the executive of the country. It is also painful that the secretary Ministry of Interior did not bother to appear and preferred to attend some office meeting.”

“This court has already observed that if some action in accordance with law is not taken against the culprits, who through stinking approach and shameful acts are indulged in constant disrespect/dishonour of Hazrat Muhammad (SAW), his companions (Sahaba Kiram RA), Ahl-e-Bait, pious wives of Hazrat Muhammad (SAW), the holy Quran and even Allah Almighty, the very law and order situation may disrupt the working of entire country.”

On February 27, the same bench directed the PTA to block pages or websites containing blasphemous material on social media.

In the main petition, the petitioner was seeking blockage of blasphemous pages on social media and directives for the government to initiate legal proceedings against the page administrators.

The petitioner has cited Arif Ahmad Khan, Secretary Ministry of Interior, Azmat Ali Ranjha, Secretary Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MOIT), Muhammad Amlish, Director General Federal Investigation Agency, Dr Syed Ismaeel Shah, Chairman PTA and Tariq Sultan, Member Finance/Acting Chairman PTA as respondents.

On Tuesday, Rizwan Bashir Khan Secretary MOIT, Syed Ismail Shah Chairman PTA, Inspector General Islamabad Police Tariq Masood Yasin, SSP (operations) Sajid Mehmood Kiani and officers of FIA appeared before the court.

The petitioner adopted that the pages and videos against the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW), his companions, his wives, the Holy Quran and Allah Almighty have not been blocked by the respondents, nor any steps have been taken. As a result, the culprits have been encouraged and they have fearlessly opened new more pages with different other names, too.

He has prayed in the application to initiate contempt of court proceedings against the respondents.

In his main petition, the petitioner contended that five persons, namely Salman Haider, Ahmed Waqas Goraya, Asim Saeed, Ahmed Raza Naseer and Samar Abbas had been hosting Facebook pages with titles Bhensa, Mochi and Roshani containing inflammatory and blasphemous material against the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and his companions.