09/25/2021

High Court orders matter of ban on TikTok to be placed before Federal Cabinet, seeks report on September 20

Urdu update here | English translation by Romessa Nadeem

August 23, 2021 – ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has once again expressed outrage. The IHC remarked whether the PTA wants to take the country back 100 years. The court asked why do you want to cut Pakistan off from the world, you can’t beat technology then why are you doing this? The court directed the matter to be placed before the federal cabinet and sought a report on September 20, 2021

On Monday, Chief Justice of the High Court Athar Minallah heard a citizen’s petition against the closure of TikTok. Advocate Maryam Farid appeared for the petitioner while Munawar Iqbal Dugal appeared for the PTA. In addition, MQM leader and former senator Mian Atiq also appeared before the court and requested to be a party in the case, which was granted. Chief Justice Athar Minallah asked the Deputy Attorney General why the ban on social media apps does not seem to be in the outside world. The laws are even stricter there. Did the federal government order a ban on TikTok?

The Deputy Attorney General replied that a meeting was held regarding the policy but no such decision was taken. When questioned by the court, the PTA lawyer said that ninety-nine percent of the people in the country were using TikTok through proxies, to which the court asked why there was a ban for the other one percent?

Chief Justice Athar Minallah remarked, “What message does PTA want to send to the world? If you want to ban things, ban everything.” When the PTA lawyer said that the previous court decisions over TikTok were his obligation, the court expressed its indignation and said to not blame the courts for PTA’s negligence.

The court ruled that if this continued, the chairman of the PTA would be summoned in person, to which the PTA’s counsel stated that talks with TikTok were underway. The ban will be lifted soon. The court directed the Deputy Attorney General to take up the matter with the federal cabinet and adjourned the hearing till September 20. MQM leader Mian Atiq’s application to become a party in the main petition was also granted. Petitioner’s lawyer Maryam Farid took the position that there is no such rule on which talk can be stopped while Mian Atiq said that PTA is taking such steps under personal agenda. “The PTA chairman assured us a year ago that we would not impose any restrictions,” he said. Addressing the Deputy Attorney General, the court said that it was not a matter for the ministries, ask the federal cabinet what is their policy. Further hearing of the case will be held on September 20

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