Asia

Pak govt’s decision to ban X based on mere speculation: Islamabad HC

Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday slammed the federal government over banning X, saying that the social media platform X is banned on mere speculation.

Islamabad: Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday slammed the federal government over banning X, saying that the social media platform X is banned on mere speculation.

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Khurram Agha, Secretary Interior appeared before the IHC and submitted a report while responding to a petition questioning and challenging the ban on X.

The report called on IHC to dismiss the petition, insisting that no right of the petitioner has been deprived. “Failure of Twitter/X to adhere to the lawful directives of the government of Pakistan and address concerns regarding the misuse of its platform necessitated the imposition of a ban. Petition against the closure of X is contrary to law and facts,” the report of the Interior Ministry said.

However, IHC said that the brief report submitted by the ministry has failed to satisfy the court as the judge expressed anger over it.

“What is this? Even my Secretary could produce a better one,” the judge said during the hearing at the IHC.

“The government has taken the decision to ban X on mere speculation,” the court observed.

The court further instructed the authorities to present solid evidence and justify that X is indeed a security “threat” to Pakistan.

Civil society organisations including Amnesty International and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) have also strongly condemned the prolonged ban on the social media platform, terming it as a clear violation of democratic freedoms in the country.

Pakistan’s FIA Cybercrime Wing had requested X to ban all accounts that were allegedly propagating against the Chief Justice.

“X officials ignored the requests of the FIA Cybercrime Wing and did not respond following which, the decision to temporarily close the site was taken,” the ministry report said.

The report also highlighted that the Interior Ministry issued orders for the closure of X on February 17, 2024, at the request of the country’s intelligence agencies with an aim to protect and safeguard the country’s national security and law and order situation.

“The decision to impose a ban on Twitter/X in Pakistan was made in the interest of upholding national security, maintaining public order, and preserving the integrity of our nation,” the report stated.

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