In Islamabad High Court (IHC) a petition was filed challenging the ban on TikTok. This famous video-sharing platform was banned by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) over “its failure to remove immoral content”.
Chief Justice Athar Minallah is scheduled to hear the petition filed by Advocate Usama Khawar on behalf of Muhammad Ashfaq Jutt, a Lahore-based sportsman and athlete on Thursday.
According to the report, the petitioner has been connected with Mixed Martial Arts for the past 26 years and operates a private training club, and has been using the popular video-sharing app as a platform to promote his skills and club to earn a living.
Ashfaq, in his petition, said that his income increased tenfold subsequent to using the platform. On the other hand, due to the unlawful arbitrary PTA ban, his business was seriously affected.
The petition states that PTA’s action of banning the app via a press release was in violation of the mandatory requirement to communicate a formal and speaking order while exercising its power under Section 37(1) of the Act.
Displaying concern over the ban on constitutional grounds, the petitioner has requested the court to declare the ban imposed against the fundamental rights of the citizens secured in the Constitution, namely, right to access to information and freedom of expression, right to life and economic liberty, the right to be heard and principles of natural justice.
Naming the federal government, Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication, and PTA as respondents, Advocate Usama Khawar has requested the court to suspend the “arbitrary and unexplained” ban on the application.
Must read: PTA Bans TikTok in Pakistan
For now, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has also expressed its concern that the authorities want to use the regulations to control the “freedom of expression and opinion in the guise of protecting “religious, cultural, ethnic, and national security sensitivities”.
Experts have voiced their concerns in the matters that involve unpredictable practices undertaken by PTA. It has serious consequences on the technological industry and digital economy connected with it.