A hearing was held in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) regarding the TikTok ban in Pakistan during which PTA directed to present a senior official at the next hearing to explain why the block should not be suspended.
The petition argues that TikTok provides a platform for people in Pakistan to express themselves in a creative way and that the ban itself in unlawful and implemented without proper legal requirements.
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) imposed a TikTok ban in Pakistan on October 9th citing the app’s inability to fully comply with the regulator’s instructions regarding censorship unlawful content being spread through the platform.
Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah has issued a three-page written order after the hearing stating:
The Authority is directed to nominate a senior officer to appear before this Court on the next date fixed and explain why proceedings may not be initiated for violating the directions given by this Court in the aforementioned judgments and why the order of banning ‘TikTok’ app may not be suspended,
Furthermore, the IHC has called on President Pakistan Federal Union of Journalist (FUJ) Mazhar Abbas, Vice Chairman Pakistan Bar Council and former Information Minister Javed Jabbar to aid the court over misuse of powers by PTA.
TikToker challenges TikTok ban in Pakistan
A TikToker approached the Sindh High Court (SHC) challenging the TikTok ban in Pakistan and calling the decision to block the app by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) as unconstitutional and a violation of Article 19 which states:
Every citizen shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression, and there shall be freedom of the press, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defence of Pakistan or any part thereof friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, [commission of] or incitement to an offence.
The petitioner argues that those misusing the app should be punished rather than placing a ban on the entire platform which goes against the fundamental rights of citizens.