Religious Affairs Minister Sardar Muhammad Yousuf on Thursday said that a team comprising representatives of social media websites, including Facebook and Twitter, will visit Islamabad next month to discuss issues relating to blasphemous contents.
Addressing a press conference flanked by State Minister for Religious Affairs Peer Amin ul Hassanat, here, he said that the government had contacted the administration of these social media sites and raised the issue with them.
“The administration of the media sites had responded positively, ensuring for sending a team to Pakistan for discussing the matter and addressing our concerns in this regard,” he added.
Besides this, a special cell comprising 30 people was already working in the Ministry of Religious Affairs for identifying the sites causing unrest and circulating blasphemous contents and hateful materials in social media, he remarked.
Sardar Yousuf said although this exercise was a time-consuming job, the government was determined to stop the circulation of such contents on social media sites.
The minister said that in 2016, the ministry had received about 8,760 links from Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), which were examined and details about these links were provided to PTA, suggesting blocking all the links having the blasphemous contents.
Moreover, he said that the ministry had started an e-portal service for identifying the blasphemous contents and registered complaints against such material, adding that so far 670 portals were completed.
In this regard, a meeting of ministries of Interior, Information and Broadcasting, Information Technology and PTA was convened in the Religious Affairs Ministry held here Thursday.
The meeting, he said, had suggested for providing clearance to PTA for blocking the sites having blasphemous contents as soon as possible.
It also suggested including the Ministry of Religious Affairs in the joint investigation team in order to make coordinated efforts to tackle the issue.
Sardar Yousuf said that in order to increase the pressure on the service providers to stop the circulation of such contents, Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz had also written a letter to Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) secretary general and asked him to use his influence in this regard, too.
Replying to a question, the minister said that Religious Affairs Ministry would soon convene a meeting of the Ulema, in which the representatives of other religion would also be invited to promote interfaith harmony and peace in the society.
Furthermore, a letter was also sent to Arab League secretary general to enhance pressure on those service providers regarding blasphemous contents, he added.
He called upon the media to play its due role to create awareness in this regard, and never compromise on dignity and honour of the last Prophet (PBUH).