Govt forms committee to review social media regulations

The government on Tuesday formed a committee to review social media regulations introduced last year, the office of the Attorney-General for Pakistan said in a statement.

The development comes after the federal government in January informed the Islamabad High Court that it would review the regulations in an ongoing case challenging their formation.

The AGP’s office said Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari would be the committee’s chairperson, with MNA Barrister Maleeka Bokhari, Senator Barrister Ali Zafar, secretary IT, and chairman of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority as its members.

The statement further said the committee would furnish its recommendations to Prime Minister Imran Khan within a month’s time — after consultations with the petitioner, Usama Khawar — who filed the case in the IHC — and relevant stakeholders.

During the January IHC hearing, Justice Athar Minallah observed that Article 19 and 19-A of the Constitution are related to fundamental rights and that “it seems that the stakeholders were not consulted in formulating social media rules”.

However, petitioner Khawar interjected and told the court that they were invited earlier for consultations, but none of their recommendations were taken into account.

On that note, Justice Minallah said that the court had appointed a judicial assistant to provide his input in the case, observing that the Pakistan Bar Council and PFUJ were important stakeholders when it came to social media regulations.

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