The petition against the recently enforced social media rules has been admitted for regular hearing by Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court (IHC), Justice Athar Minallah on December 18, 2020. The petition had been filed by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ).
With the attorney general Khalid Jawed Khan to argue the case for Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the next hearing is adjourned till December 25, 2020. The deputy general, Ahmar Bilal Soofi however had received the court notice after the very first hearing inside the courtroom.
Secretary-General PFUJ, Nasir Zaidi has cited the Secretary, Ministry of Information Technology and Chairman, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) as respondents.
According to the petition, the information secretary is said to be responsible for the new laws under various provisions of the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-organisation) Act, 1996, (PTRA) and the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 (PECA). The secretary has issued policy directives and directions as well as granted approvals to the PTA in relation to the exercise of powers under PTRA 1996 and PECA 2016.
The petition states that the implementation of ‘Removal and Blocking of Unlawful Online Content (Procedure, Oversight, and Safeguards), Rules 2020’ will lead to violation of rights to livelihood and freedom of trade and profession, guaranteed to the citizens under Articles 9 and 18 of the Constitution.