With Facebook and several other websites allegedly featuring blasphemous material against Prophet Mohammed and the Quran, the Pakistan government has informed a court here that all required steps are being taken to block objectionable and anti-Islamic portals.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and Information Technology Ministry are blocking all internet websites that feature blasphemous material, Deputy Attorney General Naveed Inayat Malik told the Lahore High Court yesterday.

After Mr. Malik gave this assurance on behalf of the federal government, Chief Justice Ijaz Chaudhry disposed of petitions seeking a ban on Facebook and several other websites.

An inter-ministerial committee is screening websites to block access to blasphemous and anti-Islamic material, Mr. Malik said.

The Chief Justice told Malik that the inter-ministerial committee should keep the High Court’s Additional Registrar informed of its operations and the steps taken against objectionable websites.

He observed that if the PTA and the Information Technology Ministry fail to fulfil their responsibilities, the petitioners would be free to approach the court again.

Responding to an application seeking the registration of a First Information Report against the owners of Facebook for allegedly committing blasphemy, the Chief Justice said police should investigate the matter and dispose of the matter under the law.

The petitions were filed by lawyer Muhammad Azhar Siddique and the Islamic Lawyers Forum.

The Lahore High Court had briefly banned Facebook last year for allegedly featuring blasphemous material.

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