Court lifts Facebook ban
LAHORE: A judge of the Lahore High Court allowed on Monday conditional access to Facebook, a social networking website, with a strict warning against any future act of blasphemy.
A 12-day-old ban on the website was lifted after the Ministry of Information Technology gave an assurance that no blasphemous material would be allowed to be shown on it.
Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry said contempt proceedings would be launched against the authorities responsible if such an incident occurred again.
Director for Telecommunication and Wireless of the Ministry of Information Technology Mudassar Husain informed the court that the management of Facebook had promised to permanently block the account of any user uploading blasphemous caricatures. He said that Facebook’s Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan had promised that blasphemous material would be blocked and a meeting with the website’s management would be held soon in Pakistan.
The official said his ministry had a committee to censor hate material and in the past it had blocked such material before its appearance on the internet.
The judge asked him about the methods used by the United Arab Emirates and other countries to filter such material.
He said that if the practice was not stopped others could also disturb people’s life by committing blasphemy.
The foreign affairs ministry informed the court that it had sent a protest note to the US government against the blasphemous act.
Deputy Attorney-General Naveed Inayat Malik said the ministry had urged the government to block websites containing controversial material.
He said US Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke had said that such incidents would not take place in future.
The law officer said the foreign ministry had told the US that Facebook was bound to follow Pakistani laws.