Join the Constitutional Petition for Protecting our Fundamental Rights Online

Blocked Internet in PakistanFor quite sometime Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has been blocking websites in Pakistan on the instructions of the Government, or otherwise, other than in accordance with the law. As per the constitution of Pakistan such blocking infringes upon the fundamental rights, of the people of Pakistan as well as that of the owner of the website:

  1. The Freedom of Expression as protected by Article 19 of the Constitution of Pakistan;
  2. The Right to Information as guaranteed by Article 19-A of the Constitution of Pakistan.

We are in the process of taking the PTA to court in an effort to seek an interim injunction restraining the PTA from blocking access to any website without following due diligence and fair hearing from the aggrieved persons (as out lined in Section 6 of the PTA Act, 1996)

A summary of the petition to be presented in the Honorable High Court of Sindh is as follows. If you agree and would like to be a party to this petition, then please FILL THIS FORM before Wednesday 11th April 2012.

Constitutional Petition to Protect the
Fundamental Rights of the People of Pakistan
to Freedom of Expression & their Right to Information
against the PTA as it blocks, restricts and censors website

A group of Civil Society Activists will file a constitutional petition before the Honorable High Court of Sindh in an attempt to check the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority as it blocks, restricts and censors websites in Pakistan. The rough summary of the petition being drafted is as follows and we request some respected individuals to become a party to this petition:

The said petition is set to impugn the arbitrary and malafide manner in which websites are being blocked/censored/ restricted by the PTA on the instructions of the Government, or otherwise, other than in accordance with the law. The said petition shall be based upon two fundamental rights, amongst others, of the people of Pakistan as well as that of the owner of the website:

  • The Freedom of Expression as protected by Article 19 of the Constitution of Pakistan;
  • The Right to Information as guaranteed by Article 19-A of the Constitution of Pakistan.
  • Other rights which may also be included are the right to life, right to a fair hearing, right to trade, and the right to practice and profess one’s religion.

One of the main arguments that shall be framed in the said petition is that the PTA has no authority to ban/block or restrict access to websites without affording a fair hearing to all those affected by the decisions of the PTA. This would in effect entail the PTA seeking public objections to the proposed action of blocking a website, and also providing a public hearing to the citizens who register any such objections. It is only after the same has been undertaken, and in consideration of the same, that the PTA shall make a reasoned order (explaining with reasons as to its final conclusion) determining whether the said website may be blocked. This would be in terms of the above mentioned Articles of the Constitution, Section 6 of the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-Organization) Act, 1996, as well as principles of natural justice.

We would also be seeking an interim injunction restraining the PTA from blocking/censoring/ restricting access to any website without following the mandate of Section 6 of the PTA Act, 1996 (the PTA must make a determination in relation to the proposed action of blocking a website only after affording a fair hearing to all aggrieved persons) till the pendancy of the suit.

If you are willing to become a party please do so latest by Wednesday 11th April – by filling this form out https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dGJibzh3RXc5Qmg4UDVMMGwyYi12T2c6MQ

4 thoughts on “Join the Constitutional Petition for Protecting our Fundamental Rights Online”

  1. @doc can you guys please mention (when required) in your case that a website like mumtazqadri.net is very much alive and working which is preaching hate., killing ( there is actually a section in which they have tried to propogate to KILL anyone who doesnt fir their version of faith ) and voilence openly. But many education related websites are blocked just beacuse some idiots uploaded some other stuff there ?

  2. Munib – the petition is carefully drafted to be sensitive to religious issues. the push is for providing a fair hearing to all those affected by the decisions of the PTA. If there is blasphemous content then the fair hearing would be enough to block it – but blatant over night blocking and no-recourse or for that matter political blocking need to be curtailed under law – we have no concern to blocking websites that violate any law of the constitution of pakistan

  3. The pakistani government should have fixed their telecommunication factor a long time ago, I have a friend there and we cannot even skype due to bad service…

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