Web abuzz over facebook ban in Pakistan

Islamabad: The web is abuzz over the ban on social networking site Facebook in Pakistan following the Prophet cartoon row. While some favour a clamp down, others say: “Why should everyone get punished for 1 or 2 person’s mistake”.

Webpages have sprung up on Facebook after “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!” was set up.

A Pakistani court had Wednesday ordered the government to temporarily block Facebook after a controversy over a competition for caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.

Pakistan has also blocked the video-sharing website YouTube because of its “growing sacrilegious contents”.

A statement from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) said that YouTube and Facebook websites were blocked after the government failed to convince them to remove “derogatory material”.

A webpage called “Ban FACEBOOK in Pakistan” has been set up “to condemn the hypocrisy of FACEBOOK. As it won’t delete the hate mongering page called “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!”.

Izhar Khan wrote on the page: “I Quit Facebook from today…Sorry my friends….but will cath u somewhere else.. Insha-ALLAH”.

But there are others who don’t want a ban of facebook.

The creator of the page “Only ban the Disrespecting Group and not the facebook in Pakistan” says: “Why should everyone get punished for 1 or 2 person’s mistake. Please be fair and take step to do something right so join this group and lets try and make a difference.”

Protests took place across Pakistan Thursday over the Prophet’s cartoon row.

In Islamabad, religious leaders issued a decree calling for the killing of the “blasphemous cartoonist” while in Rawalpindi, hundreds of activists from the women’s wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) staged a protest demonstration. They demanded that the government should end economic and diplomatic relations with all those countries who are involved in it.

The protesters held placards saying, “We will accept death in slavery of Prophet (SAW), the competitors are the real terrorists”, “We love our Prophet (SAW) more than our forefathers”, The News International reported.

Jamiat Ulema Pakistan, Tahffuz Namoos-e-Risalat Mahaz, Anti Facebook Movement, Muhammadia Students Movement, International Tanzim-e-Ahle Sunnat and Muttahida Tehrik-e-Khatum-e Nubuwat Committee demonstrated in front of the Lahore Press Club and Punjab Assembly.

The lawyers community also observed a strike on the Punjab Bar Council’s call against Facebook. The lawyers boycotted the court proceedings in civil and session courts and lawyers did not attend the court proceedings in the Lahore High Court after 10.30 a.m.

Social organisations, religious bodies and NGOs of Sialkot have announced that they would observe Friday as a protest day.

In Quetta, thousands of activists of the Islami Jamiat-e-Tulba Balochistan chapter took out a rally against the planned contest of blasphemous caricatures on Facebook, demanding the UN to take immediate notice.

Violent demonstrations had erupted in 2006 in Pakistan over the publication of cartoons on the Prophet Mohammed in Danish newspapers Jyllands-Posten and Politiken.

Last week, Pakistan refused to renew the visa of a Jyllands-Posten correspondent, forcing him to leave the country.

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