Twitter Suspends Cleric Khadim Rizvi’s Account on Pakistan Government’s Request
The leader of Tehreek e Labbaik Party (TLP) has been causing a lot of tension in the country following the conclusion of the Asia Bibi case. This is an ultra-right, extremist party that claims that the nation should be run purely on the teachings of Islam. They are not wrong there, but their ways of implementing and forcing law are completely the opposite of what Islam teaches.
Khaddim Rizvi and his followers blocked the roads in Pakistan last week. This protest went on for three days. They threatened the Supreme Court judges who decided that Asia Bibi was innocent. She was accused of blasphemy, around eight years ago and spent her time in jail all this time. The new government of Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf (PTI) decided to give her justice since non-Muslims cannot be charged with blasphemy.
Assia Bibi was convicted back in 2010 for allegedly making disrespectful remarks about Islam, keyword: allegedly. Some neighbors made this claim that Assia insulted the prophet after a dispute with her. It started when these neighbors objected to her drinking water from her glass just because she was a non-Muslim. Assia always claimed that these are pure accusations and that she was never involved in blasphemy.
Bibi has spent eight years on death row before the court decided to let her free. This was unacceptable for the extremists who do not even recognize the rights of minorities. It’s such a shame that they claim to do it for the love of the religion when the religion itself has strictly forbidden creating chaos.
Rizvi and his disciples, clearly unhappy with the decisions, created an uproar to reverse the decision. They targetted the Prime Minister, Imran Khan, the judiciary, and the military of the country. They urged their servants and cooks to murder these personalities, blackmailing them using religion’s name. Protesting and damaging public property, these clerics had the entire nation troubled. Earlier in the week, Rizvi’s deputy and TLP co-founder Muhammad Afzal Qadri told supporters to kill the Supreme Court judges.
Bibi’s family is harassed as well. On Sunday, her husband made a request to the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States to help them escape this brutal homeland. Her lawyer has fled the country as well because of the death threats. He said he feared mob attacks against him and his family.
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) sent a request to Twitter to take down the account of this cleric. This was done on the basis of “inciting hate and violence” according to two senior officials at PTA. Though Twitter did not respond immediately, it finally did suspend his account. TLP took it the wrong way and twisted the story. They claimed it to be a conspiracy against Muslims bu the opponents. They said that non-Muslims do not want to protect the name of the Prophet and Islam. A second account was created but got suspended as well soon after.
This is a huge example of the regulatory policies most social media platforms are following. Facebook and Twitter, especially are taking an initiative to combat the menace of fake news and hate mongering. YouTube, Whatsapp, and other apps should also add some regulatory policies to contain hate and rumors. These are becoming quite common. It’s like the line between right and wrong has been blurred, almost faded due to social media.
The TLP finally ended protest late Friday evening. They made a decision to negotiate with the government. It was agreed that Asia Bibi’s name will be put on an “exit control list” which would ban her from leaving the country. TLP leader, Khadim Rizvi threatened a war if they found out that Asia Bibi has fled the country Asia’s is in hiding with the fear of being killed (or perhaps even worse) if these extremists got a hold of her.