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No evidence found against 5 bloggers missing since a year

Hyderabad: December 22, 2017. (PCP) The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) told the Islamabad High Court on Friday that no evidence had been found against the five bloggers who were accused of posting blasphemous content online earlier this year.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui observed that blasphemy was an offence that fell under terrorism but falsely accusing someone of committing this act was an equally heinous crime.

The judge further said there should be no further proceedings against those found wrongly accused of committing blasphemy.

The court will look into whether the petitioner levelled false accusations or the evidence was incomplete, he added.

Justice Siddiqui noted that sectarianism had become a major problem in Pakistan and the country was heading down a negative path.

FIA officials told the court that four individuals accused of posting blasphemous content had left the country and were investigated by the Interpol.

The FIA has contacted Interpol officials and the investigation has been completed. The challans will be submitted to court soon, they added.

The court ordered the interior ministry and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to prepare a joint working paper on the case.

PTA officials told the court that their web analysis wing was regularly blocking and reporting blasphemous content.

Justice Siddiqui requested TV channels to run public messages that blasphemy was a crime that fell within the ambit of terrorism.

The court issued notices to the FIA, the PTA, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulation Authority (Pemra) and interior ministry to comply with its decision and submit a report by January 26.

Five bloggers Salman Haider, Waqas Goraya, Asim Saeed, Ahmed Raza Naseer and Samar Abbas had gone missing in the first and second week of January from different parts of the country.

Shortly after their disappearance, blasphemy allegations against them had appeared on social media and in a complaint to police.