The Lahore High Court has said that social forums are being used to offend the religious sentiments of people and steps should be taken against it.
“Laws are being violated, and religious feelings of all kinds of communities are being hit, let it be said that all this is being done under the cover of ‘freedom of expression’ and ‘freedom of speech’,” Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan said in a judgement.
“The court is cognizant that freedom of expression is considered to be a foundational human right of the greatest importance.
Yet it is important to remember that freedom of expression, speech, tolerance, and respect go hand in hand.”
It added, “protecting the prestige of Hazrat Muhammad (SAWW) is the first and foremost duty of all Muslims on earth.
Muslims would not allow anyone, on the basis of any slogan, either that of ‘freedom of expression’ or ‘freedom of speech’ to undermine the dignity of Hazrat Muhammad (SAWW).”
The petitioners had argued that “highly objectionable contents, which are totally against the injunctions of Islam, against the sanctity of Sahaba Ikram and last-hood of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is being published in the social media particularly on Facebook.” They asked for appropriate measures to curb such posts.
Here’s what the court ordered:
The government must establish a cell to keep an eye on websites where objectionable content is being shared
. It will be blocked if Islamic scholars find that the content violates the law and hurts the beliefs of Muslims.
The government shall establish a specific portal where details of all authentic Islamic websites/pages shall be introduced for guidelines for the whole world especially the Muslim Ummah.
A window/portal shall also be established where the known Islamic scholars shall answer the queries raised by anyone about the injunctions of Islam and Khatam-e-Nabuwat.
A chapter on the finality of Prophethood must be inserted in textbooks of Urdu and Islamiyat from primary to master levels.
Whenever any complaint is lodged about the offence involving Islamic Injunctions/Khatame Nabuwat and Namoos-e-Sahaba, proceedings on such complaint shall be made available on the website/portal and updated step by step so that the public must know that adequate and proper measures are being taken at the highest level to procure Islamic injunctions.
Social media providers must be compelled to establish their sub-offices in Pakistan so that timely interaction could be made in case of any violation of Islamic injunctions or of any Article of the Constitution of Pakistan.