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Pakistani students blog site blocked

Lahore, June 02, 2008: The government has allegedly blocked a blog hosting website which contains hundreds of blogs created by Pakistani students especially in connection with prevailing political and social "unrest" in the country, it was learnt.

Various blogs on blogspot.com, the "blocked" website, were also providing up-to-date information on protests of students, civil society and human right activists against the government over the issue of judiciary.

A number of students, who manage blogs on the said domain, alleged that the government had banned the blogs hosting website because most of the blogs contained anti-government material adding the same website was blocked in January this year too for quite sometime.

A number of bloggers informed that access to some of the blogs was denied around 3pm on Saturday adding by late night the entire domain was blocked and none of the blog hosted on the said website could be accessed. They further said a few days earlier two of the blogs including FASTRising.blogspot.com and Ale-Xpressed.blogspot.com, managed by some students of FAST-National University carried a report about prevailing "unrest" in Balochistan province.

They said the report was in fact based on findings of a visit paid to Balochistan by a group of students, affiliated with FastRising and Lahore and Islamabad chapters of the Students Action Committee (SAC), from Punjab. "Different photographs especially one of wall chalking in Balochistan against Pakistani government were also pasted on the said blogs", said one of the bloggers adding the report also carried information about missing Balochs. "The account of Balochistan journey might have become a reason behind blockage of blogspot domain", he expressed his apprehensions.

An expert blogger, on condition of anonymity, said though the blogs were blocked on blogspot adding nevertheless these blogs could still be accessed while using anonymous proxy servers like megaproxy.com etc.

It is worth mentioning here that students of various universities including the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), FAST-National University and the Punjab University (PU) have been hosting their blogs on this website to propagate their point of view about the prevailing socio-political situation of the country.

Comments and analysis on fight against terrorism and missing persons are also regular features many blogs hosted by the blogspot domain.

When contacted Zonal Director of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Col (r) Nayyar Hassan denied blocking of the said website saying as far as

zonal office was concerned no such step was taken. He asked this scribe to contact PTA spokesperson Khurram Ali Mehran for further comments. However the spokesperson did not attend call despite repeated attempts. The News
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