ISLAMABAD – Expressing profound concern over the muzzling of Kashmiri voices on social media platforms Twitter and Facebook, Chairman of Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir Mr Shehryar Khan Afridi Thursday said that the social media giants were abusing the freedom of expression of the people living under the brutal military occupation in Indian Occupied Kashmir.
Mr Afridi shared the views during a meeting with Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Maj. General (R) Amir Azeem Bajwa here at the Parliament House.
He said that Kashmiris are fighting for a UN guaranteed Right to Self Determination and gagging their voices is a violation of UN Conventions on freedom of speech.
“At a time when world talks about freedom of expression and freedom of speech, it is unfortunate that the voices of Kashmiris are stifled in the name of so-called ‘community standards’.”
Mr Afridi said that the Indian lobbyists and employees of Twitter and Facebook are influence the social media giants to stifle the voices of Kashmiri activists which is a violation of UN conventions on freedom of speech.
The Kashmir Committee Chairman said that the misuse of media tools like search engine optimisation, artificial algorithms and sponsored advertisements to suppress the voice of oppressed and deprived communities on social media is immoral by all means.
“It is a pity that the owners of the social media sites have given their Indian employees freedom to push Indian agenda on the social media sites and gag voices questioning the Hindu-Fascist agenda of India in Kashmir.”
Urging the champions of freedom of expression and freedom speech to take cognisance of the gag, Mr Afridi said that millions of Kashmiris have been deprived of internet services while the world is a mute spectator.
“High speed internet services have been blocked for almost one year in Indian Occupied Kashmir while the human rights organisations have been silent over this infringement into the basic rights of the Kashmiri people,” he added.
He said that Kashmir Committee would play a bridging role with all the state institutions to protect and promote the cause of Kashmir and it would eradicate the legal and technical hindrances in this regard. He urged Pakistani and Kashmiri citizens to raise their voice on social media platforms for Kashmir as community mobilisation is key to protest against the social media gags introduced by management of Facebook, Twitter and other tools.
Meanwhile, Chairman PTA briefed Mr Afridi and informed him on the measures taken by the PTA to protect rights of the social media activists. He said that Pakistan has been writing to social media companies about their double standards in community standards.
He said that Facebook and Twitter management’s have been suspending and blocking accounts of Pakistani Parliamentarians and civilians on posts on Kashmir and PTA has been lodging its protest to the management of the social media administration.