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IHC issues notices to PTA, federal govt over ban on TikTok

PTA has once again blocked video-sharing mobile app TikTok. Source: Online

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday issued notices to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and the federal government over the ban on social media app TikTok.

The court directed all the official respondents including the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MOITT) to submit their replies by Friday (tomorrow).

It also summoned a senior officer of the PTA to appear in person on the next hearing and explain why contempt proceedings should not be initiated for not complying with the court’s order directing PTA to frame rules for exercising its powers under PECA 2016.

The court inquired whether PTA has framed rules under Article 37 of PECA 2016. The petitioner’s counsel said that rules have not been outlined and the court has given 90 days to the PTA. He said the PTA violated two court decisions by banning TikTok.

The counsel stated that earlier PTA had banned Players Unidentified Battleground (PUBG) which was declared null and void by the same court. The court ordered PTA not to engage in such activities.

Chief Justice Athar Minallah questioned whether the app has been banned in India. The petitioner replied that the ban was imposed in the United States but the decision is still pending. The court inquired if the ban was due to security reasons.

“In this way the entire internet will have to be shut down,” Chief Justice Minallah remarked, adding that it is not like a crime has been committed on the motorway and the entire motorway should be closed because of it.

The court adjourned the hearing till next Friday. The petition challenged PTA’s decision of placing a ban on the Chinese-owned popular short video sharing app.

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