Pakistan bans TikTok for the third time citing morals

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan slapped a third ban on the Chinese video-sharing application TikTok- three months after it had been restored following two continuous bans over immoral and obscene content.

This time, the Sindh High Court ordered the ban which will be applicable till at least July 8 – the next date of hearing. The ruling came during a hearing, where SHC issued a notice to the Attorney General of Pakistan and directed him to follow the orders and get the platform banned with immediate effect.

During the hearing, the lawyer of the plaintiff said his client had approached the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority before filing the plea however, the authority did not respond in any regard.

A statement from the court ruling stated ‘In view of such submission[s] by the representative of the defendant No. 2, the ban was lifted from the defendant No. 3, but the defendant No. 3, paying no heed to the constant undertakings and assurances given by them before various Courts and the defendant No., nor respecting the law and the basic injunctions of Islam as well as the culture of Pakistan, has recently started a social media campaign whereby they are celebrating ‘LGBT-Pride Month.’

The judge also remarked that ‘Let a notice be issued to the defendants as well DAG [Deputy Attorney General] Pakistan for 08.07.2021 and till then the defendant No. 2 is hereby directed to suspend the operations of and/or access to the TikTok application in the country.’

The second ban imposed on March 11 was revoked in April, almost three weeks later, when Peshawar High Court (PHC) directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to unblock the platform while ensuring non-access to unethical and objectionable material keeping in view the provisions of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016.

The Chinese app was for the first time blocked in the South Asian country back in October last year over its ‘obscene and immoral’ content. The authorities said they had issued a final notice to the platform and gave considerable time to respond and develop and an effective mechanism to filter ‘proactive moderation of unlawful online content.’

The first ban was, however, annulled after 10 days. At that time, the management of the short video app has assured to block all accounts repeatedly involved in spreading immoral content in accordance with the country’s laws.

Besides the immoral and obscene content, the TikTok craze has overtaken Pakistani youth who are not even hesitating in risking their lives for the viral clip.

Earlier, a security guard in Karachi’s Gulistan-e-Jauhar shot himself dead while pointing out a hand weapon over his head. Another 22-year-old man died after being hit by a passing train while shooting a clip at the railway station in Bhans Colony of Sindh capital.

A 17-year-old boy falls to death in Jan this year after being hit by a train as he attempted to shoot a TikTok video on a railway track.

Last year in June, a teenage boy accidentally killed himself while making a video in Karachi’s Sikandarabad area. Another teenager drowned in a Narowal canal in July while filming a video while a 13-year-old boy had shot himself dead while making a video for TikTok in Karachi on August 11.

In September last year, a 20-year-old boy got killed while three others suffered injuries after their car smashed into a tree in Karachi’s Korangi area. Another 16-year-old boy, who was identified as Ammar Haider, was accidentally shot dead while recording a TikTok video with his friends in Sialkot.

The list didn’t end here as another teenage boy accidentally injured himself in the Firdous Colony of Punjab capital while shooting a TikTok video.

Pakistan is reportedly the 12th largest market for the app [in terms of app installs] as around 45 million apps have installed total, according to the analytics of private tech watchdog.

The setbacks of this novel platform didn’t end in Pakistan as it contained international rackets. Bangladesh also mulled over banning the short video platform after it was revealed about a transnational sex trafficking ring that operated via the Tik Tok app.

Following the startling revelations, the authorities in Bangladesh have increased the surveillance on TikTok and other similar platforms. They are also considering banning those platforms.

The application is said to be available in more than 155 countries in 80 languages, it is a platform for short-form clips, created with a bunch of editing tools, funky filters, and effects. Users and users can adapt and remix posts by other users, usually to impish effect, mucking around with context and meaning.

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