Pakistan wants Facebook, Twitter to help identify people suspected of blasphemy

A girl holds a flag of Islamic political party Jamaat-e-Islami while taking part in a protest with others in Islamabad on May 20, 2010, against an online competition to draw pictures of Prophet Mohammad on Facebook which Muslims deem blasphemous. (File photo).
Faisal Mahmood | Reuters

Pakistan has asked Facebook and Twitter to help identify users in violation of its strict blasphemy laws.

Under Pakistani law anyone suspected of blasphemy can be prosecuted and potentially sentenced to death.

According to Reuters, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said Thursday that an official in Pakistan's Washington embassy has approached the two social media companies in an effort to identify Pakistanis, either within the country or abroad, who recently shared material deemed offensive to Islam.

Authorities in Pakistan have already identified 11 people suspected of blasphemy and would seek the extradition of anyone living abroad.

Facebook said it reviews all government requests carefully, "with the goal of protecting the privacy and rights of our users.

"We disclose information about accounts solely in accordance with our terms of service and applicable law. A Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty or other formal request may be required for international requests, and we include these in our Government Requests Report," it said in a statement.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC.