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‘Caricatures of Prophet Muhammad, calling Ahmadiyya leader a Muslim’: Why Pakistan is threatening Google and Wikipedia

Calling the issue serious in nature, the Pakistan authority approached Google Inc with directions to immediately remove the 'unlawful content' or face legal action, the statement said.

Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) Friday decried internet giants Google and Wikipedia for its ‘blasphemous’ content. It has issued notices to Google and Wikipedia asking them to either remove the “sacrilegious content” or face legal consequences.

The notice was sent under Pakistan’s Removal and Blocking of Unlawful Online Content (Procedure, Oversight and Safeguard) Rules 2020, through which the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority is authorised to remove any online content they deem unlawful.

In a press release, Pakistan regulators said it has been receiving complaints regarding misleading search results associated with the “unauthentic version of the Holy Quran” uploaded by the Ahmedi community on Google Play Store. It also pointed out to pages that name religious leader Mirza Masroor Ahmad as the current “Khalifa” or leader of Islam. It said that this contradicts the dominant religious beliefs in the country. 

Pakistan threatens Google and Wikipedia of legal action

Calling the issue serious in nature, the Pakistan authority approached Google Inc with directions to immediately remove the ‘unlawful content’ or face legal action, the statement said.

In the press release, the authorities added: “Complaints were also received regarding hosting of caricatures of Holy Prophet (PBUH) and dissemination of misleading, wrong, deceptive and deceitful information through articles published on Wikipedia portraying Mirza Masroor Ahmad as a Muslim,” the PTA said in a statement published on its official Twitter handle. It is pertinent to note that Mirza Masroor Ahmad is a leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and Pakistan seems to have taken offence that he is being called a ‘Muslim’ by Wikipedia.

It further read that after extensive communication, the notices were finally served to the internet giants, asking them to immediately pulled down the blasphemous content or face legal action.

In case the platforms remain non-compliant, the PTA shall be constrained to initiate further action under Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 (PECA) and Rules 2020, the statement said.

Full text of the notice issued by Pakistan

“PTA has been receiving complaints regarding misleading search results associated with “Present Khalifa of Islam” and unauthentic version of Holy Quran uploaded by Ahmadiyya Community on Google Play Store. Being a matter of very serious nature, PTA has approached Google Inc. with the directions to immediately remove the unlawful content. The platform has been issued with the notice under Removal and Blocking of Unlawful Online Content (Procedure, Oversight and Safeguard) Rules 2020 (“Rules”) to remove the sacrilegious content to avoid any legal action by the Regulator.

Complaints were also received regarding hosting of caricatures of Holy Prophet (PBUH) and dissemination of misleading, wrong, deceptive and deceitful information through articles published on Wikipedia portraying Mirza Masroor Ahmad as a Muslim. After extensive communication on the matter, Wikipedia has been finally served with the notice to remove the sacrilegious content to avoid any legal action.

In case the platforms remain non-compliant, PTA shall be constrained to initiate further action under Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 (PECA) and Rules 2020″

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