Facebook Block in Pakistan Lahore High Court Orders

Justice Ejaz Chaudhry said that the government should record its protest at international level.
Hearing a petition regarding blasphemous page on Facebook, Chaudhry Zulfiqar Advocate said that Facebook hurt the emotions of Muslims with the publication of said page about blasphemous caricatures but the government became a silent spectator.
Deputy Attorney General Naveed Inayat Malim said that PTA has blocked the blasphemous link of Facebook. Director Telecom Mudassar Hussain said that there would be great loss after the complete closure of Facebook. Lawyers and civil society representatives protested the statement of Director Telecom.
The government yesterday had directed the PTA on the orders of LHC to block the blasphemous caricatures link on Facebook. After the directive, the PTA took necessary steps and blocked the link on Facebook. Plans for the “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” contest drew an angry reaction, provoking street demonstrations in the Muslim majority country.
On Wednesday, Lahore High Court responded to a petition by the Muslim Lawyers Movement, ordering Pakistan’s internet regulator to block the entire site.
Users lost access to Facebook about two hours later.
Rai Bashir, a lawyer involved in the case, said the site was blasphemous.
“There are so many insults to the Prophet on the internet and that’s why we felt we had to bring this case,” he said.
“All Muslims in Pakistan and the world will be supporting us.”
It is widely considered offensive to visually depict the Muslim prophet. The Koran does not explicitly forbid images of Mohammed, but a number of hadith, or interpretations of the Islamic holy book, forbid figural representations.
The court in Lahore ordered Facebook to be blocked until May 31 – after the date of the contest – when a longer hearing is expected.
The contest was based on an idea by Seattle-based artist Molly Norris, who posted a cartoon on her website of a chair, cotton reel, cherry and other items each claiming to be Mohammed.
However, she said her idea was only ever a spoof. It was meant as a protest against censorship of the television show South Park, she said. The US cartoon recently featured the Muslim prophet dressed in a bear suit.
She added that she was horrified that her satire had been turned into a Facebook competition.
It is not the first time Pakistanis have reacted angrily to depictions of the Prophet Mohammed.
Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in 2006 when cartoons, which had originally been published in a Danish newspaper, were reprinted around the world.
Five people died when the demonstrations turned violent.
Lawyers for the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority had argued that only the offending page be removed, but Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry ordered the whole social networking site to be barred on Wednesday.
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