X closure in Pakistan: ‘National security under threat due to content uploaded on internet,’ IHC told

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ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Interior on Wednesday told the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that “content uploaded on the internet” is a “threat” to the country’s national security.

The Interior Ministry joint secretary’s comments came during a hearing on journalist Ehtesham Abbasi’s petition against the closure of X, formerly known as Twitter.

X, which is an important source of information, has been inaccessible in Pakistan to millions of users for more than a month now, since its suspension on February 17.

During today’s hearing, the Interior Ministry’s joint secretary appeared before IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq who was hearing the plea and submitted a report in the court.

The court asked if there was any written communication regarding the closure of X.

“What is this method? What is this attitude? Assist the court,” said the IHC CJ, adding that everything is “closed and jammed”.

The court told the joint secretary that he should give in writing what was the threat to the national security and not just make verbal statements in the court.

“Show us the documents. There will be no verbal conversation,” asserted Justice Farooq.

The CJ said that his secretary would make a better report than this one. At this, the joint secretary told IHC CJ Farooq to look at the other page.

At this point, the IHC CJ asked if this was the joint secretary’s first time appearing before the court.

The secretary told the court that the content uploaded on the internet is a threat to the national security.

The court said that there must be evidence regarding the threat. “You closed X on the Intelligence Bureau’s (IB) report. There are no reasons written in it, only a report based on speculation,” it added.

Justice Farooq asked the joint secretary to submit any other verdicts by other courts regarding this matter. Later, the court summoned the interior secretary on April 17.

“There is malice in every institution,” said IHC CJ Farooq, adding that now that the elections are over, this matter should end now.

“Let the interior secretary come then we will see. If [nothing happens even then] then we will summon the prime minister,” he added.

At this, the joint secretary requested the court to not summon any high official, seeking another chance.