The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday sought a written reply from Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on a petition against the ban and non-framing of rules on video-sharing app TikTok.
The PTA had earlier removed the ban on TikTok, after assurances from platform’s management that they will block all accounts involved in spreading ‘obscenity and immorality’.
The hearing, presided over by Chief Justice Ather Minallah, was informed by the PTA’s counsel that the authority had been holding talks with the TikTok’s management.
“Who is making such decisions in PTA?” the court inquired. “Who decides what is right and what is wrong. This is why it is so important to make rules!” the judge observed.
Justice Minallah remarked that during the Covid-19 outbreak , TikTok became a source of entertainment and income for the less privileged.
“Should the motorway also be closed since an incident occurred there?” Justice Minallah remarked. “This does not happen anywhere in the world… the world is moving forward and you are taking it backwards. Our values must be strong enough to not be shaken by anything!” the IHC CJ stated.
The hearing was adjourned for four weeks.
At a previous hearing, the IHC issued a three-page written order on an application seeking immediate suspension of the PTA decision to ban TikTok.
The notice was issued to the PTA on the main petition along with a plea seeking a stay on the regulator’s decision to ban TikTok.
IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah remarked that the regulator should explain why not its decision to ban TikTok be suspended until the final decision of the case is pronounced. The court in its written order stated that the questions raised by the petitioner’s counsel were worth calling attention.
In October, it was reported that the PTA management would moderate all TikTok accounts in accordance with local laws.
“We’re pleased to see that the TikTok app has been unblocked in Pakistan. We appreciate the PTA’s commitment to ongoing productive dialogue and recognize their care for the digital experience of Pakistani users,” PTA said, responding to the unblocking of the app.
“At TikTok, we’re committed to enforcing our Community Guidelines and complying with local laws in all markets in which we operate, as these are pillars of our work to promote a safe and positive community online. The creativity and passion of this community has brought joy to households across Pakistan and opened vital economic opportunities to incredibly talented creators, and we’re excited to be able to continue enabling Pakistani voices and creativity as we work to support the success story of Pakistan,” PTA added.