Facebook blocked in Pakistan
Students protest against Facebook caricatures competition
Lahore, May 20: Students across the city openly questioned on Wednesday the motive
behind Facebook's holding of a competition of caricatures of the Holy
The Young Doctors Association – with students
from the Kind Edward Medical University, Fatima Jinnah Medical College
and Islami Jamiat Taliba – protested at different parts of the city
against the social networking website for holding the competition.
is the limit, first the blasphemous caricatures were published and now
a Jewish lobby is using a sophisticated method to hurt sentiments of
Muslims around the world. The government is clearly doing nothing in
this regard and it's evident that they are incompetent and cannot take
any steps," an angry protester said.
Moreover, participants of the Al-Muhammadia Students Pakistan also held
a massive protest outside the Lahore Press Club and walked towards the
Assembly Hall. They chanted slogans against America, Sweden, Norway,
Israel and Denmark for publishing the blasphemous caricatures.
they published the caricatures and now they are spreading them on a
popular medium like Facebook. They want to change the mindset of the
upcoming generation. The Tehreek-e-Hurmat-e-Rasool has also scheduled a
protest at the Masjid-e-Shuhuda today (Thursday)," one of the
Salman Kazi of the YDA said they are preparing
for countrywide protests "for which we have contacted students of all
medical colleges and universities".
Maintain image: Musician
Ali Azmat said the issue should be dealt with sternly so that no such
thing takes place in the future. "Every Muslim condemns this act, but
it should be handled responsibly because we have to maintain our image.
I have registered my condemnation of the relevant Facebook page."
Lahore High Court had asked the Foreign Ministry to launch an
international protest over the issue and seek an apology from the
people responsible, Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said, adding the issue had already been taken up at the Human Rights
Council, Organisation of Islamic Conference and the UN General
Apology: "Now Facebook is being used to do the same
thing which is not acceptable at any level. We are also seeking the
stance of like-minded countries after which we will form a different
strategy to seek apology from those responsible," Basit added.
the LHC has ordered banning Facebook across the country, the IT
Ministry on Wednesday issued a notification stating that the Pakistan
Telecommunication Authority has directed all operators concerned in
Pakistan to block the website until further notice. Daily times
"well its a really good thing that our muslims are taking action against it but i guess the person who abused the name of our beloved prophet Muhammad (S.A.W)APOLOGIZED ! and so the facebook shouldnt be block any more"
City, Country: karachi , pakistan
"i think its a great idea but what about those who have their loved once abroad? their family? their kids? wifes? this site was just a click away to hit them, because of that someone SON OF A ***** who made our Holy Prophets (saw) drawings authority should kill him to death! Not by blocking the site permanently but by punishing him to DEATH! Ask the government to kill him for doing such thing. My wife recently went to Italy its been a week... i used to talk to her on facebook till she lost her Phone.. n i was suppose to know her number by Wednesday but they blocked the site! Now this is killing me inside too... but hope they take a fine step next time."
City, Country: isb
"I love to be able to connect with people every where. It is sad there are people out there who abuse such a great tool. I share my feelings with those that are upset in Pakistan. There is no room for such silly behavior that disrespects something others hold dear. I hope this will clear up and we can reconnect again in the future. I am just a simple man whos dream is to make a living, raise a family, have grandchildren, and, ultimately get to heaven. I dont think this is much different then most peoples dreams."
Name: john keller
City, Country: Bismarck, United States
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Facebook to miss 2.3m Pakistani users
Islamabad: About 2.3 million Pakistanis could not access their
facebook accounts on Wednesday when the government blocked the website
for publishing 'profane anti-Islamic' content.
orders from the Lahore High Court, the government blocked 'Facebook'
and all other internet links displaying sacrilegious caricatures of the
Holy Prophet (peace be upon him).
The Ministry of Information Technology issued a directive to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to remain alert and watchful and block all
such links that displayed profane caricatures immediately.
The ministry also set up a dedicated line and an email address and
requested public at large to contact and convey information about
objectionable material posted online such as the caricatures displayed
at the Facebook website.
The PTA had directed all concerned operators in Pakistan to block website www.facebook.com until further orders.
On May 18, the PTA had issued instructions to all operators to block the objectionable link/URL on Facebook.
"Objectionable material had been popping up from different URLs that
came into notice of the court and thus ordered blockage of the entire
website," said the convener of Internet Service Provider Association of
Pakistan, Wahajus Siraj.
The 'hate material' was a violation
of Facebook's Fair Use Policy that prohibited nudity and abusive,
vulgar and derogatory material to be posted online, he said.
"People had been registering complaints with Facebook administration
for almost three weeks. As a global social network Facebook should have
realised their responsibility and blocked this particular community
that was mocking a revered figure for the Muslims. Facebook has blocked
communities spreading hate material before," said Wahajus.
According to the MoIT, Facebook.com was the third most accessed website
from Pakistan, after google.com.pk and google.com. More than 2.3
million registered Facebook account holders from Pakistan made up 0.51
per cent of Facebook.com's percentage of Global Audience. Shutting down
Facebook over the blasphemous cartoon competition drew mixed reaction
from users. While many appreciated the blocking of the website, others
called it unnecessary.
"Of course it's wrong. But it's going
to take more than a comment from an unknown online community on
Facebook to weaken or break Islam," said a
Facebook user who missed contacting her relatives abroad until Tuesday were only a click away.
Amna Agha, a frequent Facebook user, said Pakistanis did not have to
get out of control to express their views and give the West a reason to
declare them uncivilised. "There is always a peaceful way to protest.
They should have blocked the link. And if they can't block all the
links then incompetence lies with the government's IT departments."
Faisal Javed held almost a similar opinion. He said "True it's
offensive to depict the Prophet (PBUH). But it would have been better
to let people decide if they wanted to remain connected through
Facebook. It's ridiculous to deprive more than two million people of a
site that connected them with their loved ones across continents
through the fastest means of communication possible."
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Facebook access blocked on LHC order
Lahore: The government blocked on Wednesday access to
Facebook after the Lahore High Court ordered closure of the social
networking website until May 31 for holding a competition of
blasphemous drawings. Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry asked Pakistan
Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Director Mudassar Husain to file a
detailed report on the matter.
The judge also sought assistance of petitioner Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ahmed and other lawyers on relevant international laws.
The PTA director told the court that the closure of the website
would damage the national economy. He said the country could lose the
internet facility after blocking access to the website.
He said the PTA had already blocked links to the controversial
webpage which had hosted the competition, instead of blocking the whole
website. He said the link had been blocked on Tuesday evening.
The official's remarks infuriated many lawyers present in the
courtroom and Advocate Mohammad Azhar Siddique said that Muslims were
ready to suffer any loss to curb blasphemy.
The judge asked both parties to sit together, find a solution to the dispute and return to the court after break.
Consultations held in the deputy attorney general's office remained
inconclusive and the matter was left for the court to decide.
When the hearing resumed, the judge ordered that the website be blocked till May 31, the next date of hearing.
Chaudhry Zulfiqar of the Islamic Lawyers' Forum had said that
Article 2-A of the Constitution envisaged that no practice against
religion could be allowed in the country. He said the website having
various features against the injunctions of Islam was banned in a
number of Muslim countries.
After the court's decision, the PTA ordered all the operators in the country to block the website, www.facebook.com,
until further orders. It said the directives had been issued by the
ministry of information technology and telecommunication in view of the
On Tuesday, the PTA had instructed all concerned to block the objectionable link/URL on Facebook which was immediately blocked.
The authority has set up a crisis cell to monitor such contents and
announced that toll free number 0800-55055 and email address "email@example.com" can be used to notify it of URLs where objectionable material is available. Dawn
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Facebook still accessible on Blackberry net
Islamabad: Authorities in Pakistan acted promptly after a provincial
court ordered to block the most popular social media namely Facebook
for its intrusion into religious privacy of the Muslim world over by
initiating a drive, which is blasphemous in Islam.
have become a consecutive routine since the website launched a drive
provoking members to draw blasphemous caricatures of Holy Prophet
Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). On Wednesday, the Lahore High Court
taking up a petition issued directions to immediately block the site.
the country's IT and Telecom watchdog Pakistan Telecommunication
Authority (PTA) has directed all concerned operators in Pakistan to
block website www.facebook.com till further order," its officials
The website was blocked within minutes after the PTA
instructions but it was accessible on mobile Internet being provided by
the international operators mostly the Blackberry service of the
Canadian company RIM (Research In Motion).
According to mobile
operators in Pakistan, they have communicated to the RIM and other
operators they are subscribing to, for immediate blocking of the
website that has become illegal in Pakistan after the Lahore High
Court's directions. A leading mobile operator has also vowed to
unsubscribe the Blackberry service of the RIM, if they did not block
Facebook in a couple of hours. However, the website was accessible on
all international Internet services on mobile phones in Pakistan till
filing of this report.
"They (RIM and other international mobile internet providers) will have
to it because they also having pressure from other Muslim countries,"
one of the operator said requesting not to be named.
the PTA officials stated, "These directions have been issued in
compliance with the directions issued by Ministry of IT & Telecom
(MoIT) in view of decision of the Honourable Lahore High Court (LHC).
Earlier on May 18, PTA had issued instructions to all concerned
authorities to block the objectionable link/URL on Facebook, which were
immediately blocked," they added.
Intermittently, the Faceback has
already been blocked in several countries including Syria, China,
Vietnam, and Iran, after facing different controversies mainly relating
to intruding the privacy one way or the other. According to Wikipedia,
it has also been banned at many places of work to discourage employees
from wasting time using the service.
Privacy has remained a constant
issue and it has been compromised several times by this website.
Facebook settled a lawsuit regarding claims over source code and
intellectual property. The site has also been involved in controversy
over the sale of fans and friends. The nation
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Countrywide protests against Facebook
Islamabad: Demonstrations were held across the country on Wednesday in protest against the social networking website, Facebook.
At a demonstration outside the Parliament House, protesters urged
the government to raise the issue at the international level. They
criticised the West for carrying out and encouraging blasphemous acts.
Addressing a press conference later, Talha Mehmood, chairman of the
Senate standing committee on interior affairs, urged the government to
redefine its relations with the West against the backdrop of an
increase in incidents hurting religious sentiments of the Muslims. He
appealed to the OIC to raise the issue at relevant forums.
The senator also condemned a decision of the French parliament to impose restrictions on wearing veil. Dawn
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Students slam unfettered freedom of speech
Karachi: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has made
life easier for those who were planning to bid farewell to their
Facebook accounts to protest the 'Everybody draw Muhammad Day' event,
by issuing a blanket ban of the entire website.
In a statement
issued on Wednesday, the PTA public relations director said that the
social networking site has been banned all over Pakistan till further
notice, and all operators concerned have been directed to comply with
the directions issued by Ministry of IT & Telecom (MoIT) in view of
the decision of the Lahore High Court (LHC).
which began with a popular animated TV series, South Park, eventually
overflowed on to Facebook, where a group of artists got together and
decided to invite other artists to sketch caricatures Prophet Muhammad
(Pbuh) on May 20, or what they referred to as 'Draw a Muhammad Day'.
majority of the Facebook using community in Pakistan comprises students
and youngsters. Incensed by the May 20 event, they said that
concrete steps should be taken to prevent of such "untoward incidents"
in the future. "I am happy that the website has been banned in the
country because the Facebook administration had not taken any stance
against the derogatory event," said Muhammad Farooq, a student of Iqra
University. "Popular websites such as Facebook should implement
policies which do not attack religions and faiths."
Aqsa Tariq, a social sciences student at the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali
Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (Szabist), appreciated the
ban of the website. "The sentiments of millions of Muslims have been
hurt by these artists who are demeaning our religion and following the
footsteps of the Danish cartoonists. The sanctity of every religion
should be protected," she claimed.
Earlier, more than 43,000
users had joined groups vowing to boycott Facebook, specially on May
20, to protest the event. Many others had called for censuring hate
groups against Islam and Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh). Some, on the other
hand, had opted to celebrate 'Bless Prophet Muhammad Day' instead of
shunning Facebook on May 20. "The decision to ban the website won't do
any good since the website is accessible through proxy websites and
cell phones. I believe that the rational way to protest such incidents
is to report the webpage and register complaints with the Facebook
administration," said Yamna Sultan, a student at the Institute of
An auditing student, Saad Mansoor, said
that instead of boycotting the website, Muslims should honour the
prophet by following his teachings. "'Draw a Muhammad Day' was not an
official Facebook event. Under such circumstances, Muslims should
simply report the page so that it can be blocked by the Facebook
administration," he said.
To get the message across, some
students of the University of Karachi (KU) are distributing a booklet
which tells Facebook users how to report the webpage. "I used penciled
comic strips in order to raise awareness. Around 500 booklets have been
distributed so far to tell students how to protest peacefully against
the event. What the artists are doing is not freedom of expression, but
freedom of defamation," Ema Ansari, a student of the KU mass
communication department said.
Another student, Ahsan
Raza, said that apart from banning the website, activities should be
organised to promote tolerance and inter-faith harmony. The news
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