Islamabad: World Champion of Kickboxing and five-time Mixed Martial Arts Champion on Wednesday approached Islamabad High Court (IHC) challenging the ban of Chinese video sharing and lips-synching application TikTok by Pakistani authorities.
Pakistan’s athlete Muhammad Ashfaq Jutt, who is also twelve-time National Champion of the Wushu Kung-Fu, filed a writ petition in Islamabad High Court through his counsel Usama Khawar Ghumman wherein he stated that he had been associated with the field of Mixed Martial Arts for last 20 years and that he was a celebrated athlete.
The Federation of Pakistan, Ministry of Information and Technology and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) are made respondents in the application.
The application stated that the petitioner had also served as Senior Vice President Pakistan Kickboxing Federation won the World Champion of Kickboxing in 2016 while representing Pakistan.
Jutt has been running Private Martial Arts Training Club where he trains and instructs the citizens, particularly the youth and preach the benefits of engaging in the physical sports and self-defence, especially kickboxing. Jutt has also been training the Young enthusiast of Kickboxing.
He has been using TikTok as a platform to promote his skills and club, which naturally promotes his business and provides the opportunity to earn a living. His income has increased tenfold after using this platform. However, due to the unlawful arbitrary ban imposed by PTA on TikTok the Petitioners business is seriously affected.
Expressing concern over the arbitrary ban on Constitutional grounds, the petitioner has requested the Court to declare the ban imposed ultra vires the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 and the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-organization) Act, 1996, the fundamental rights of the citizens secured in the Constitution, namely, right to access to information and freedom of expression, right to life and economic liberty, the right to be heard & principles of Natural Justice.
According to Advocate Usama civil society, rights watchdogs, journalists, activists, and global internet giants have opposed this unregulated practice of regulating social media.
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed its concerns that the authorities want to use the regulations to control the “freedom of expression and opinion in the guise of protecting “religious, cultural, ethnic, and national security sensitivities”.
It is stated that the ban violated section 37(3) of the PECA 2016 as the PTA has exercised authority without the directions of the Federal Government.
The applicant prayed before the high court to issue directives to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to immediately remove the ban on TikTok.
It is further prayed before the Islamabad High Court to issue directions to the telecommunication authority to provide a reason with regards to its decisions and directions.
The petitioner further requested the court to issue directions to ensure the protection of the fundamental rights of the citizen.