Islamabad: A Pakistani court has reportedly ordered a ban on nine leading websites, including Google and Hotmail, for allegedly posting blasphemous material though officials today said they had not received any instruction to block the sites.
Media reports said the Bahawalpur bench of the Lahore
High Court yesterday directed the Pakistan Telecommunication
Authority to immediately block nine websites, including
Google, Yahoo, MSN, Hotmail, YouTube, Bing and Amazon, for
publishing and promoting sacrilegious and blasphemous
Justice Mazher Iqbal Sidhu issued the order while
hearing a petition filed by a man named Muhammad Sidiq who
claimed these websites were publishing sacrilegious material.
The judge also ordered the PTA chairman to appear in
court on June 28 with relevant materials.
Sidiq, in his petition, sought a ban on the websites
for publishing blasphemous materials and twisting facts about
Aslam Dhakkar, head of a local bar association, was
quoted as saying that the court had given a historic decision.
He said the legal fraternity in Bahawalpur would
observe a strike today to protest the publication of
blasphemous material by the websites.
However, officials of the PTA told that they had
received no instructions to block the websites.
They said they had only seen media reports about the
court`s order. Wahaj-us-Siraj, a spokesman for the Internet Service
Providers Association of Pakistan, said his organisation had
not received any directions from the PTA to block websites.
Pakistani authorities had blocked popular social
networking website Facebook in May over the holding of a
competition on blasphemous caricatures of Prophet Mohammed.
The access to the website was later restored on the
orders of the court.