The Islamabad high court (IHC) has asked Pakistan’s authorities to reconsider the current ban on the Chinese video-sharing app TikTok, according to the ANI news agency, which cited a report by Geo News on Sunday morning. The development comes weeks after Pakistan banned TikTok for the fourth time in the country on account of “inappropriate content” on the platform and its failure to take down such videos. Athar Minallah, the chief justice of the IHC, has reportedly asked the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to reconsider the ban on TikTok, especially since the telecommunication regulator has “failed to justify blocking the video-sharing app”.
“The TikTok app is a source of income for the underprivileged,” the report quoted an extract from the judgment passed by the Islamabad high court on Saturday. According to the agency, the telecom regulator has also been asked to submit a report to the court regarding the matter on August 23.
The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority had notified on July 21 that it had blocked ByteDance’s video-sharing platform TikTok in the country. The ban was imposed under relevant provisions of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016. This was reportedly the fourth time that the app was shown the door in the country. All the earlier bans were reversed when the app promised to moderate its content.
The first time TikTok was banned in Pakistan was in October 2020. However, the ban was lifted 10-day later after the company assured that it would block accounts “spreading obscenity”.
The Peshawar high court had imposed a ban on Tiktok in March which was lifted in April. In June, the Sindh high court asked the telecommunication authority to block TikTok as it was spreading immorality and obscenity. This order was also lifted after three days.
TikTok is much popular in Pakistan, though protests against the app have also grown louder over time. The app, which is banned in neighbouring India, has been downloaded almost 39 million times in Pakistan.
TikTok has said that more than 6 million videos were removed from the app in Pakistan in the last three months.