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Pakistan regulatory body issues notices to Google, Wikipedia for ‘disseminating sacrilegious content’

Pakistan regulatory body issues notices to Google, Wikipedia for ‘disseminating sacrilegious content’

28.12.2020 | Madhur Bhatt | Hidayatullah National Law U., IN DECEMBER 27, 2020 07:43:14 PM | 674

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Saturday issued notices to Google and Wikipedia for “disseminating sacrilegious content” through their platforms.

According to the authority, these websites are hosting misleading content about the present khalifa (spiritual head) of Islam. The searches on these platforms show the current leader of the Ahmadiyya community as the “present khalifa of Islam.” Additionally, the PTA asked the platforms to remove the unauthentic version of the Quran on Google Play Store, published by the Ahmadiyya community.

Ahmadiyyas are a highly persecuted Islamic group in Pakistan who are referred to as non-believers (kafirs) for their belief that their founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is the prophesized Messiah. Mainstream Muslims believe that Muhammad is the “final” prophet, which clashes with Ahmadiyya belief. The penal code of Pakistan explicitly discriminates against religious minorities and targets Ahmadis by prohibiting them from indirectly or directly posing as a Muslim, declaring or propagating their faith publicly, building mosques, or making the Muslim call for prayer.

Successive Pakistani governments have failed to protect the human rights and security of the Ahmadiyya community. Arbitrary arrests, detentions and charges of blasphemy are regular occurrence. A major part in this is played by the country’s blasphemy or sacrilege laws which are amongst the harshest in the world. Insulting Islam’s Prophet Mohammad carries a mandatory death penalty and other offences can lead to jail time.

The PTA has informed the two search engines that if no relevant action is taken, the authority will have to initiate further action under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 (PECA) and Rules 2020.

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