ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has termed the ban on video-sharing website TikTok a violation of the rights enshrined in the Constitution.
While hearing a petition challenging the ban on Monday, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah asked the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) why it had blocked TikTok and why the court should not give an order to unblock it?
Earlier in July this year, the PTA had blocked access to the Chinese-owned app after it allegedly failed to take down “inappropriate content”. The authority said it took the decision over complaints regarding indecent and immoral content.
The first time TikTok was banned in Pakistan was in October 2020.
During the hearing today, the IHC observed that the PTA had filed a report regarding the case, nevertheless, it did not contain answers to the queries of the court.
The court said that the PTA had submitted an affidavit at the Peshawar High Court (PHC) and the Sindh High Court (SHC), which read that TikTok contained only one per cent objectionable material.
“Was any expert opinion sought before blocking the social media platform?” asked Justice Minallah, and added that if it did, “the federal government and the PTA should submit names of social media experts in the court.”
“Members of the middle-class segment of society earn through it by highlighting their talent.”
He wondered if every social media platform should be closed as objectionable material was present on all of them.
“Such a matter should be handled professionally,” added the IHC CJ.
The IHC later adjourned the hearing till November 22, directing the PTA to satisfy the court in the next hearing.