Pakistan is no place for free speech.
A justice on Pakistan’s Islamabad High Court (IHC) has threatened to shut down the entirety of social media if criticism of Islam’s Muhammad continues, declaring these “blasphemers” as “terrorists.”
According to local reports, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqi burst into tears while issuing the warning for those who apparently have taken to social media to criticize Muhammad. Siddiqi made it very clear that Pakistan would not allow for such displays of free speech.
“Why is the blasphemous content present on the social media? What steps had the government taken up in this regard so far?” Siddiqi asked. “I submit and sacrifice myself and all what I have including my parents, my life and job to the person of Allah’s messenger … If the sacrilegious pages cannot be blocked, then, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) should cease to exist,” he added.
Siddiqi then took his comments a step further, arguing that social media in its entirety should be cut off for Muhammad’s sake.
“Each and everything can be sacrificed for the honor of Allah’s Messenger. I will close entire social media, if I have to,” he said.
And then came the conclusion: The justice declaring those who decide to engage in free speech as “terrorists.”
“I hereby declare as terrorists who commit blasphemy to the holy Prophet.” the IHC justice declared.
About 75 percent of Pakistanis support the country’s blasphemy laws, which say that insulting Islam is punishable by death. This has led to massive discrimination against Christians and other religious minorities living inside Pakistan. The blasphemy edicts sometimes lead mobs to take the streets, and guarantees violent repercussions for those who have been deemed slanderers of Islam.
Pakistan is currently fending off a wave of jihadist terrorist attacks. In one such incident in February, a suicide bomber killed 88 people after detonating his vest at a Sufi shrine. This might lead observers to believe that such a vital issue to national security would take priority in Islamabad. Instead, the judiciary is discussing how to block what its citizens discuss on social media.
Free speech does not exist in Pakistan. And worse, the highest levels of government are accused of becoming cozy with international terrorist groups.
Pakistan was notoriously once the home base for deceased al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, who set up shop in Abbottabad, located less than a mile away from a prominent Pakistani military academy. Its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency has long been accused of collaborating with jihadist terror outfits. (For more from the author of “Pakistani Judge Threatens to Shut Down Country’s Social Media Over Free Speech ‘Terrorists'” please click HERE)