ISLAMABAD - While hearing a case related to the implementation of a court verdict of March 31, 2017, the Islamabad High Court on Friday expressed its annoyance at the government for failing to remove the online blasphemous material.

IHC judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui took up the matter and directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to send a letter along with a copy of the court judgment to Twitter authorities to remove the blasphemous matter from its site, otherwise, the court will issue directions for the blockage of social networking site in Pakistan.

Petitioner Salman Shahid along with his counsel Tariq Asad appeared before the court while representatives of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) and the Ministry of Information Technology were also present.

Expressing his annoyance at the government, Justice Siddiqui said that more than a year has passed after the court announced its verdict but the government had failed to implement it yet.

He directed the government to write a letter to the Twitter authorities on the issue and get back at the next hearing. The judge said that he would order the social media site to be blocked if the offensive content remained online.

He said that he could have ordered to ban the site right now but politicians would cry saying that such a move would affect their election campaign.

The IHC bench also took notice of the alleged harassment of the petitioner by intelligence agencies and directed the Islamabad Police Inspector General to provide security to him. The court also asked him to file a separate petition in this connection.

Justice Siddiqui remarked that as an institution, the army was the pride of Pakistan. However, he said that some black sheep in the army had made it blemished. He said that if the army chief intended to resolve the issue, then he should depute a high-ranking official to whom evidence would be provided.

Later, the court directing the government to implement the court verdict about the online blasphemous content deferred the hearing till August 7.

The case was finally decided by Justice Siddiqui last year. In the detailed judgment, the bench had said “whenever law enforcement institutions/agencies receive a complaint about blasphemy, it is their duty to initiate immediate legal action and they have no jurisdiction to differentiate between a good and bad law. Every law in the books is alive and requires implementation.”