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ICC Note:

As Pakistan continues to crack down on blasphemy, it has authorized the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to monitor online content and send text messages to Pakistanis warning them of sharing or uploading blasphemous content. This will likely create a more hostile environment with an increase in false accusations. One such accusation occurred late last week when a Christian man was accused of blasphemy by a Muslim. The Christian man owns a repair shop and had just finished repairing the Muslim’s bike. Reports suggest that the Muslim demanded free service because of his religious position. When the Christian refused and demanded payment, the Muslim accused him of blasphemy. The Christian, who is a father to a two-year-old girl, was jailed.

06/20/2017 Pakistan (Morning Star News) – Amid a government campaign in Pakistan against “blasphemous” content online, a Christian was arrested on Friday (June 16) when a Muslim accused him of blasphemy after a dispute over a repair bill, sources said.

 

After millions of Pakistanis last month began receiving text messages from the government warning them against sharing or uploading “blasphemous” content online – a move rights activists say encourages more vigilante attacks on people spuriously accused of blasphemy – the falsely accused father of a 2-year-old girl was jailed under Pakistan’s widely condemned blasphemy statutes, his brother said.

 

Claiming that it was acting on a court order, the government-run Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) began sending text messages to all mobile phone users last month warning that “uploading & sharing of blasphemous content on Internet is a punishable offence under the law” and giving a government email address for reporting such content.

 

The PTA has reportedly received more than 3,000 complaints of blasphemous content on social media, with investigators determining 1,660 websites contained such content. Most of the websites have reportedly been blocked, and posts on social media such as Facebook and YouTube were under investigation.

 

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