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SC rejects bail to accused spreading child pornography

APP
Sunday, Nov 28, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Saturday remarked that the people involved in heinous crime against innocent children do not deserve to be granted any relief.

A two-member SC bench, comprising Justice Maqbool Baqar and Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar, rejected the bail application of an accused involved in spreading child pornography videos on social media.

The bench, rejecting the bail application filed by child pornography accused Umar Khan, directed the trial court to expedite proceedings and conclude the case as early as possible. The three-page judgment authored by Justice Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi stated that child pornography was a major cause of child sexual abuse and was also one of the leading causes of devastation in society. It is a grave threat to the future and morality of children in the country, the court order read. "The argument of the suspect’s lawyer that no affected party came forward is inadmissible," the court remarked. The court noted that the allegation leveled against the petitioner was that he was involved in sharing child pornographic content through his Facebook profile via his mobile device.

There is no denial to this fact that it was the Facebook Authority who had contacted the Federal Investigation Agency and had provided the information against the petitioner, upon which the FIA had inquired into the case. The mobile phone of the petitioner was taken into possession and was sent to Forensic Science Laboratory and according to the report of the FSL, the Facebook profile of the petitioner was found active on his mobile phone and child pornographic videos and images were also extracted from his mobile phone. The mobile numbers, which the petitioner was using in his mobile device, were also found active and the same were registered in his name.

The judgment said, "We have noticed that one of the most alarming social evils prevailing in the society is child pornography. It has created a havoc in society as it contains a great threat to morality and the future of children. One of the reasons for the rise of child abuse/rape cases is squarely because of child pornographic content. The concerns regarding child sexual abuse and exploitation have been prevalent in the society in the past also. However, due to various factors, the gravity and impact of the offense of child pornography is increasing at an alarming rate and this menace needs to be curbed with iron hands.

"Although the offence with which the petitioner has been charged with does not fall within the prohibitory clause of Section 497 Cr.PC and the maximum punishment for the same is seven years but keeping in view the nature of accusation, its impact on the society and the material collected so far, merits the case to fall within the exception of granting bail when the offence falls within the non-prohibitory clause. Otherwise, it is not an absolute principle of law."

In October, the FIA arrested two individuals allegedly involved in child pornography. The suspects were traced with the help of information provided by a United States-based organisation specialising in preventing violent crimes against children. The information was relayed to Pakistan via Interpol.