Pakistan seeks Facebook help to investigate ‘blasphemous content’

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Web Report

Dubai: The Ministry of Interior has announced that Facebook has agreed to send a team to Pakistan to address reservations about content on the social media site.

Blasphemy is a highly sensitive and incendiary issue in Pakistan. Critics say blasphemy laws, which allow the death penalty in some cases, are often misused to oppress minorities.

Earlier this week, Pakistani Prime Minister Main Muhammed Nawaz Sharif voiced his support for a wide-ranging crackdown on blasphemous content on social media.

In a statement on his party’s official Twitter account, he described blasphemy as an “unpardonable offence”.

Last Thursday, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan reasserted Pakistan’s determination to tackle the issue, saying he would take “any steps necessary” to make sure Pakistan’s message got across.

Khan said he had asked officials to liaise with the FBI in the US and with social media platforms on a daily basis.

“Facebook and other service providers should share all information about the people behind this blasphemous content with us,” he said.

There has been little official description of what blasphemous content has been found online so far, but in the past blasphemy accusations have ranged from depictions of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to critiques and inappropriate references to the Quraan. But some critics say that this latest move is simply a way of cracking down on dissent.