Islamabad - Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Wednesday informed the Islamabad High Court that a case has been registered in a matter of posting blasphemous material on social media.

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui conducted hearing of a contempt of court petition for not complying with the court orders about blockage of pages or websites containing blasphemous material on social media and deferred the hearing till March 27 for further proceedings.

During the hearing, Interior Secretary Arif Ahmed Khan sought time to submit report with regard to steps already taken and decisions about future course.

Secretary Interior also told the court an FIR bearing No 7/2017 has already been registered with FIA under Sections 295-A, 295-B, 295-C, 298-A, 298-B, 109 PPC r/w Section 11 of PECA, 2016 and Sections 6 (f), 7 (h), 8 and 9 of Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

Therefore, he added that requirement of Joint Investigation Team (JIT) will be met in which persons from intelligence agencies will also be associated which is requirement of the law.

An official from Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) also stated before the court that his organisation has capacity to block the pages and to extend assistance in tracing the real culprits.

In his order, Justice Siddiqui noted, “Secretary Interior apprised the court with regard to steps taken. According to him, there is a material progress, as matter has been taken up at all levels and Executive of the country is fully conscious of the sensitivity of the issue.”

Justice Siddiqui wrote that it is further stated that issue subject matter of these petitions has direct bearing on the integrity, security and defence of Pakistan, therefore, all the institutions of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan need to rise to the occasion in order to protect ideological and geographical boundaries of the country.

Secretary Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage and Director General (DG) FIA also submitted their progress reports in this matter.

However, the counsel for Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) submitted that in order to file updated report, a few days time may be granted.

Similarly, Advocate General Islamabad submitted that the Attorney General of Pakistan has gone to perform Umrah and will appear before the court on the next date in order to apprise the court with regard to steps to be taken for insertion of blasphemy and pornography in the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 and about insertion of proviso or section against levelling false allegation of blasphemy.

Later, the court deferred the proceedings with the consent of counsel for the petitioner, law officers and officials in attendance. In the main petition, petitioner Salman Shahid was seeking blockage of blasphemous pages on social media and directions for the government to initiate legal proceedings against the page administrators.

In his main as well as contempt of court applications, Salman Shahid cited Arif Ahmad khan, Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Azmat Ali Ranjha, Secretary, Ministry of Information Technology & Telecommunication, Muhammad Amlish, Director General, Federal Investigation Agency, Dr Syed Ismaeel Shah, Chairman, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and Tariq Sultan, Member Finance/ Acting Chairman (PTA) Pakistan Telecommunication as respondents.