Twitter Pakistani warns rights activists over government criticism

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Social network Twitter has warned two Pakistani rights activists against objectionable content, they said on Monday, a move that signals a continuing push to the Asian nation.

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., September 28, 2016. REUTERS / Brendan McDermid / File Photo

The warnings come a week after Twitter suspended the account of an ultra-right Pakistani cleric who issued threats to the government and the judiciary over the acquittal of a Christian woman accused of blasphemy.

"Warnings are coming out of their voices," said Pakistani lawyer and internet activist Nighat Dad.

In recent emails, Twitter told activist Taha Siddiqui, he said, he said, and said that it could not be done, but did not specify what.

"Pakistani authorities … are pressuring Twitter to take 'legal' steps against me," Siddiqui, a correspondent for France 24 television, who fled Pakistan this year, told Reuters.

"Twitter should stop becoming a facilitator of repressive regimes."

Twitter's Asia-Pacific representative had no immediate comment when contacted by Reuters.

Pakistan's information minister, Fawwad Chaudhry, told Reuters his office was "trying to establish close coordination" with Twitter to curb "hate speech and death threats", but did not directly respond to the question of Siddiqui, and another activist who received two warnings, Gul Bukhari.

Bukhari, who was briefly abducted in July from a military cantonment in the eastern city of Lahore, said that he criticized the government's lack of action against a prominent cleric.

The cleric, Khadim Hussain Rizvi, had his account blocked The Supreme Court Judges who acquitted Asia Bibi and urged their cooks and servants to kill them.

In a reply to Twitter, Bukhari said Rizvi's speeches violated the law because he was inciting violence against state officials.

"In my tweet I am asking the government to take action against him. In which world is that illegal? "She wrote.

Siddiqui, who left Pakistan after a tired abduction attempt he blames on the powerful military criticism, now lives in France and says he believes the complaint to Twitter came from his home country.

Writing by Saad Sayeed; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.