Court asks NA speaker to form committee to review laws

ISLAMABAD – The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday referred the matter related to social media laws drafted by PTI government to the Parliament and asked the Speaker National Assembly to constitute a committee to review these laws.

A single bench of the IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah issued the directions while hearing identical petitions filed against the implementation of “Removal and Blocking of Unlawful Online Content (Procedure, Oversight and Safeguards), Rules 2020”.

During the hearing, the IHC CJ remarked that the government has changed and those who were in the opposition previously and were opposing these rules, are now in power. He said that now, it is better for the government to hold consultations with stakeholders and resolve the issue.

Justice Athar observed that the court always thinks it appropriate that the government in power look into the matter and resolve it.

However, he added that respecting freedom of expression is necessary and the court is observing daily what is constantly being done to freedom of expression in this country. He made it clear that everything should be clear in the rules and nothing should be left open ended that can be misused tomorrow.

Social media laws drafted by PTI govt

Later, the judge summoned PPP leader Farhatullah Babar to the rostrum and said that your party is now in power and correct these rules. He further said that it is test of this government, what they were saying when in opposition, they should rectify these rules accordingly.

Farhatullah Babar suggested the court to forward the matter to the Parliament. He said that it will also be a test of this government. Then, the bench directed to send all the petitions with regard to the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act to the Speaker National Assembly for consideration in the Parliament.

 

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