Pakistan puts a ban on Facebook over Prophet cartoons

Pakistan government on Wednesday directed internet service providers to block Facebook in line with the Lahore HC`s order to temporarily cut off access to it over a page encouraging users to post caricatures of Prophet Mohammed.

Last Updated: May 19, 2010, 21:18 PM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan government on Wednesday
directed all internet service providers to block Facebook in
line with the Lahore High Court`s order to temporarily cut off
access to it over a page encouraging users to post caricatures
of the Prophet Mohammed on the popular social networking site.

The High Court issued it order in response to a
petition seeking a ban on Facebook for hosting a page with a
competition on blasphemous caricatures of Prophet Mohammed.
The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority said in a
statement that it had directed internet service providers to
block Facebook in compliance with directions issued by IT and
Telecom Ministry in view of the High Court`s decision.

Facebook users across Pakistan were unable to access
the website on their computers by late afternoon.

However, some users were able to log in to Facebook
using their smartphones.

Yesterday, PTA had issued instructions to all
operators to block only the link or URL on Facebook for the
page hosting the competition for the blasphemous caricatures.

PTA said it had established a "Crisis Cell" to
monitor objectionable contents on websites. Meanwhile,
Religious Affairs Minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi strongly
condemned the competition for blasphemous caricatures on
Facebook.
In a statement, he said the blocking of such websites
would only provide a temporary solution as "anti-Islam
elements have been hurting the sentiments of the Muslims in
the past too."

An effective plan of action should be devised
against the perpetrators of such acts, he said.

He asked Islamic countries to join hands for devising
an effective policy so that nobody could dare publish such
caricatures in future.

Kazmi asked Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to
convene a conference of religious and foreign ministers of all
Muslim countries for making a permanent policy against such
"anti-Islamic moves".

He called on oil producing countries to stop the
delivery of oil to nations who have been facilitating
"anti-Islamic elements" in fulfilling their nefarious designs
against the religion.

PTI