Facebook access restored in Pakistan
Lahore High Court (LHC) lifted the ban after almost two weeks and allowed conditional access to widely used international social networking website www.Facebook.com in Pakistan on Monday, May 31, 2010, with a strict warning against any future act of blasphemy.
Justice Ejaz Chaudhry of LHC issued the directive reversing a May 19 order on Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to block Facebook over “blasphemous” drawings of Prophet Mohammed on the website.
According to press reports, on May 31, Justice Ejaz Ahmed Chaudhry lifted a 12-day-old ban on the website after the Ministry of Information Technology gave an assurance that no blasphemous material would be allowed to be shown on it.
The ministry of foreign affairs also submitted a reply in the court stating that it has lodged a complaint with the US government over Facebook hosting a page that called for a competition to draw sacrilegious caricatures. Deputy Attorney General Naveed Inayat Malik appeared on behalf of the government and told the court that US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke has also been informed about the issue and he has assured that such an incident will not occur in future.
Justice Chaudhry said, “We don’t want to block access to information and it is the government’s job to take care of such things, which spark resentment among the people and bring them to the streets. They should take steps to block any blasphemous content on the Internet”.
PTA spokesman Khurram Mehran said that they have issued instructions to Internet service providers to unblock Facebook. However pages containing blasphemous content will remain blocked.
Access to YouTube was restored last week.
Source: Pakistan Press foundation (PPF)