No matter which country or continent a person belongs to, he or she may very well be served a notice if they are found writing anything on twitter, an American platform, if it goes against Pakistani laws. Sound strange and absurd right? Well that’s something which has been happening from quite a sometime now with the most latest incident being the one involving Canadian columnist Anthony Furey.
When Anthony first received an email from twitter, informing him that he may have violated Pakistani laws he brushed it aside as some kind of scam, prank or bad joke. However, upon a little enquiry he realized that it was official. After searching about the sections of laws he has been accused of violating , he realized that according to Pakistani legal codes he is guilty of blasphemy, an offense which may attract capital punishment in the Islamic Republic.
Furey’s perceived crime was sharing cartoons of Prophet Muhammad, 4 years ago. Furey, who detailed his experience in a column for his newspaper on Saturday, told news agency AFP: “I’m somewhat alarmed that Twitter would even allow a country to make a complaint like this, as it almost validates their absurd blasphemy laws.”
The tweet in question was a collage of cartoons of Mohammad that he posted four years ago. “Looking back, I remember I did it right after there had been an ISIS-inspired attack in retaliation over the cartoons,” Furey wrote in his column, adding he had not posted similar material before or since.
Well known Imam Tawhidi was also sent a similar notice by twitter. flagging a tweet that called on Australian police to investigate extremism in mosques following a deadly knife attack in Melbourne in November.
The scholar attached the legal notice sent to him by Twitter informing him of possible violations of Pakistani law, and tweeted: “I am not from Pakistan nor am I a Pakistani citizen, Pakistan has no authority over what I say. Get out of here.”
When news agency AFP reached out for reaction, a spokesperson for Twitter told “In our continuing effort to make our services available to people everywhere, if we receive a valid requests from an authorized entity, it may be necessary to withhold access to certain content in a particular country from time to time.”
The spokesperson added: “We notify users so that they have the opportunity to review the legal request, and the option to take measures to protect their interests.”