Permanently banning Facebook: Court seeks record of previous petitions

Published: May 6, 2011

Facebook announces 2nd Annual Draw Muhammad Day contest on May 20.

LAHORE: 

The Lahore High Court on Thursday sought till May 10 record of previous petitions filed against the social networking website, Facebook, for blasphemous content.

Justice Azmat Saeed passed the order on a petition seeking a permanent ban on Facebook in Pakistan for holding a contest called the 2nd Annual Draw Muhammad Day.

The petition was filed by Mohammad and Ahmad through Advocate Mohammad Azhar Siddique.

Siddique requested the court to direct the Civil Lines SHO to register a criminal case under Section 295-C against the perpetrators for organising the competition again.

The petitioner also sought directions for the federal government to stop the display of blasphemous material against the Holy Prophet (pbuh) on Facebook and other similar websites in Pakistan.

He also requested the court to direct the government to establish a permanent authority to monitor objectionable online activities.

He said that Facebook and similar websites should be permanently blocked for placing caricatures of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and other prophets. The petitioner said that the contest, scheduled for May 20, was the evidence of international mischief against Islam.

After hearing the petitioner’s arguments, the court observed that disrespect to the Holy Prophet (pbuh) will not be allowed at any cost.

The court then adjourned the hearing and sought record of earlier petitions.

The petitioner has named the federal government, the ministry of communication, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, and the Punjab government as respondents.

Facebook had earlier generated much controversy when a single cartoonist Molly Norris had announced a contest to sketch caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in May 2010. The sponsors had later apologised and cancelled the contest.

The authorities had informed the court that a protest was recorded through the Organisation of Islamic Conference with the United Nations and America.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2011.

Correction: May 6, 2011

Due to a reporting error, an earlier version of this article had stated that Facebook had announced a contest to sketch caricatures of the Holy Prophet (pbuh). The contest had been announced by a single artist who later withdrew support for the day.

Reader Comments (41)

  • ARF
    May 6, 2011 - 9:25AM

    As was discussed last year – we should know how to ban such pages and links so that no one gets to see them. The people who organise this are mischief makers and like doing this to get a kick out of it. I totally agree that dishonouring the Holy Prophet (PBUH) is not on at all and hence such pages should be blocked. If these people spread all this all over the internet then think logically, how many pages can we ban? Islam is a beautiful religion and teaches tolerance. Also remember no matter what anyone does they will eventually be answerable to a Greater Being when their time comes and these people who hold such contests will also be held responsible when they stand before Allah on their judgement day.Recommend

  • Umayr Masud
    May 6, 2011 - 9:25AM

    When will these morons realize that 90% of the people have no idea about such things until these idiots start to advertise it. I hope someone fills in a case of blasphemy against the petitioner. Recommend

  • Abu Bakr Agha
    May 6, 2011 - 10:32AM

    Pretty sure its some lunatic groups ON facebook, and not the website itself..Recommend

  • faraz
    May 6, 2011 - 10:51AM

    Are people forced to read such objectionable facebook pages? Why do they open up such blasphemous pages, read it, recommend it to others, and then criticize its contents. Why do they indulge in this ridiculous exercise? Recommend

  • Saad Durrani
    May 6, 2011 - 10:57AM

    Who wrote this piece?

    Facebook had announced a similar contest in May 2010. The sponsors had later apologised and cancelled the contest.

    It was never an event started by Facebook and it did not have any sponsors. It was made by a girl who used Facebook that started all this commotion.

    Furthermore, banning does not help unless you provide an alternative. Chinese were given Renren and Vietnam has its own social portal too. Pages like DMD are made everyday by Facebook users and they are simply ignored.

    How about we ‘ban’ corruption first?Recommend

  • MHJ
    May 6, 2011 - 11:00AM

    Please BAN forever!Recommend

  • Correct the facts
    May 6, 2011 - 11:04AM

    Dear ET,
    Please mind a correction, it wasnt Facebook who held this contest before and its not Facebook again, This was by few Islamophobic Haters who did that and are trying to do it again You cant blame it on Facebook, so please you should have wrote a contest that held at Facebook rather than reporting that Facebook had announced a similar contest in May 2010. The sponsors had later apologised and cancelled the contest.
    Thank youRecommend

  • May 6, 2011 - 11:08AM

    Nice move…..It will lead to some positive use of internet in Pakistan, People waste a lot of time on these websites…..Recommend

  • aisha
    May 6, 2011 - 11:28AM

    that stupid group has 582 members and no activity since july 22nd last year… finally you have woke up Justice Azmat Saeed …now you can make it famous and get them fans… and they will thank you….

    why cant a judge who is actually an internet user be assigned the case… Recommend

  • Imtiaz
    May 6, 2011 - 11:37AM

    Who wrote this? facebook cannot announce a contest. in fact their terms state that it must be explictitly stated that facebook has nothing to do with the contest.

    I personally believe that there is tons of objectionalble material out there when it comes to islam. But as a believer, it is my duty to stay away from the content. Just because its on facebook, doesnt mean you block facebook. You, as a muslim, should stay away from the content. It wont get published on your wall automatically.

    relax.Recommend

  • Anonymous
    May 6, 2011 - 11:52AM

    You do realize this censorship will not be tolerated and has lead to many Revolutions and uprisings lately. Do they really wish to tempt the worlds resolve? Anonymous is watching now. Expect us.Recommend

  • aly
    May 6, 2011 - 12:08PM

    Grow up for crying out loud! dont we have enough problems on our hands to bother about facebook? pakistan is turning into a little whining baby. Most importantly its not facebook that makes these pages…its people. whatever happened to freedom of speech? you don’t like the page…dont go on it!
    Today Pakistan is faced with rising costs, a very inefficient army and intelligence agency, a corrupt president, terrorism and i can go on and on…so shape up…forget the small insignificant stuff and fix your country! Recommend

  • KKhan
    May 6, 2011 - 12:43PM

    do these guys realise how much business will be effected! JahillllRecommend

  • May 6, 2011 - 12:55PM

    You can check out my documentary on this issue here, currently as an online rental: http://voicesfrompakistan.filmbinder.com/Recommend

  • May 6, 2011 - 1:02PM

    @Saad Durrani: Indeed. But that girl didn’t exactly make the page, she expressed the idea in a radio show and one of the listeners went ahead and made it.Recommend

  • karachite
    May 6, 2011 - 1:09PM

    btw ive tried finding it on facebook n ive found no such thing :/
    the only thing i have found is this
    http://www.jihadwatch.org/2010/04/may-20-everybody-draw-muhammad-day.htmlRecommend

  • karachite
    May 6, 2011 - 1:12PM

    my comment just got deleted i guess wts the point of having a comments section if even that is moderated lol n freedom of speech LMAO wts that ?Recommend

  • ahs
    May 6, 2011 - 1:52PM

    just to add facebook is banned in china Recommend

  • johnny_bravo
    May 6, 2011 - 3:11PM

    Excellent move that must be commended!!! Banning Facebook will surely solve all our problems of corruption, terrorism, suicide bombings, drones, target killings, looting, plundering, food/electricity/water shortages, inflation, sinking economy and what not. This move is just what this country needs to make the leap to the next world superpower.

    P.S: Please also ban the Internet and telephone while you’re at it.Recommend

  • Fotographer
    May 6, 2011 - 4:42PM

    How more hypocritical can we people become. FYI, the contest isn’t held by Facebook it is held by ordinary FB users. Giving exposure to such ridiculous events just increases the publicity of the event and makes us the laughing stock of the world. Why not move cases on the many human rights abuses that take place in this country, why not initiate thorough investigations on the many wrongfully accused citizens who were brought in under the same Section 295-C??
    Plus the ban is a violation of the fundamental right to information? Why should anyone regulate how I or anyone else should browse the internet!
    Lastly, FB has become an important source of customers for many home businesses. Banning FB would kill that source. Now do you want to add to the number of unemployed and disgruntled people?Recommend

  • noor
    May 6, 2011 - 4:46PM

    Chinese don’t like to waste time in unnecessary & unproductive things so they banned it;
    I wish somebody realises this in Pakistan also.
    I know of senior people who get perterbed with their ISPs if facebook is out of access, they don’t bother even about their official email servers, but this time-waster.
    Lets see it getting banned soon!Recommend

  • May 6, 2011 - 5:06PM

    Express Tribune kindly fix the Ad in the comment section, its bloody annoying and hides the SUBMIT COMMENT button, very lame and unprofessional!Recommend

  • May 6, 2011 - 5:16PM

    Hail banning facebook , google Social network is coming! :D Recommend

  • Mani
    May 6, 2011 - 6:09PM

    the group has only 3 attending members. for crying out loud!! As if we don’t have bigger issues to deal with….Recommend

  • Nasir
    May 6, 2011 - 6:30PM

    Facebook must know the meaning of the word SOCIAL…Recommend

  • Bilal Hussain
    May 6, 2011 - 6:50PM

    Insane! Recommend

  • waqar
    May 6, 2011 - 8:30PM

    Some people are saying that the fb does not create this event, I agree with those but facebook always support them. Go and create a new account with the name of hitler and see what happens. ERROR: Our automated system will not approve this name. If you believe this is an error, please contact us. If they do not allow to create an account with the name of hitler than why they allow any thing against ISLAM. Facebook must be ban.Recommend

  • Umair
    May 7, 2011 - 1:03AM

    I would like to comment on it that Pakistan Govt. must be block this site forever.
    Not for 1 month or two months.
    BLOCK FOREVER.Recommend

  • Raj
    May 7, 2011 - 2:02AM

    ban facebookRecommend

  • Haytt
    May 7, 2011 - 2:08AM

    we can stop people from such things across the world , and its not possible to do so. its better to fill the gap between the east and west which is clash of ignorances, not clash of civilizations.
    they are not aware about the personality of Holy Prophet (saw) . They just know through the biased window of western media which always misunderstood Islam and represent Islam of few lunatics and fundamentalist individual or group which are mainly political driven not of issues of faith of Islam , What we have in middle east is not born from the faith of Islam , what we have in Iraq is not born from the faith of Islam , what we in kashmir is not born from the faith of similarly in Afghanistan . Political driven issues were dragged in media as if its driven by faith basically in core these all are political issues. Fighters in above respected countries mainly fight the foreign occupation which is very much comprehensible that every nation in the world will fight if invaded by some other country , if we invade let say Russia their people will fight even if they donot believe in any faith generally . The dignity and the status of Holy Prophet Muhammad cant be distorted because of few events.Recommend

  • Haroon Malik
    May 7, 2011 - 3:07AM

    Can anyone point me to liberal lawyer. i wish to fight this petition in court. Recommend

  • May 7, 2011 - 3:35AM

    I have a question to all who are in favor of banning FB.
    There are many people who are making their living from this website, can someone suggest where from they should earn their living. I would have loved to see the same people joining PTI sit-in against drone attacks rather than getting into this crap of an effort. C’mon fellows, growup, world has a lot more issues to deal with. No body in the world knows about this contest and these people are trying to make it famous, shame on you!Recommend

  • M Ali Khan
    May 7, 2011 - 11:45AM

    Grow a sense of humour rather than acting as whining babies!Recommend

  • M Ali Khan
    May 7, 2011 - 11:46AM

    @waqar:
    Hitler killed millions of people. Drawing a cartoon does not.

    If you dont like it, dont watch it, but dont ban it either!Recommend

  • M Ali Khan
    May 7, 2011 - 11:51AM

    Just to let you know, this is the 2011 Draw Muhammad Day event made by youtube activist Thunderf00t (Xavier Lumens)

    http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=197904546896886

    Again, if you dont like it, dont see it and just avoid it. No one is forcing you to join!Recommend

  • waqar
    May 7, 2011 - 4:12PM

    @shafaqat ali. There are many other social n/w site’s like twiter, myspace go and use it. facebook is not water with out which you can not survive.

    @M Ali Khan. I do not like fb for only reason and that is they allow the people to make fun of our beloved prophet and even they do not take any actions against them. Last year I’m on facebook I reported the Page, I send emails to facebook to remove this page, But what happen the page still exists, they do not remove it. Now what I can do ? Do you have any answerRecommend

  • Zeus
    May 8, 2011 - 5:24PM

    I’ll use proxies to open it. Or maybe the opera browser on my cell phone. Ultra surf works well. Who cares. Let them block it. We’re gonna use it anyway. It will add a bit of a headache but when has our govt and these mullahs not given us that.
    Another reason to run out of this forsaken country. Recommend

  • Danish
    May 9, 2011 - 11:29AM

    Strange, We can live with out caring about Mohammad[PBUH] but cant live without Facebook. sick people sick mentalitiesRecommend

  • Talha
    May 9, 2011 - 2:27PM

    Banning facebook for such ‘events’ is just like banning internet because there is a lot of objectionable material on internet. Point is that while there is tons of material of seriously blasemphous nature on internet, why not ban intenet altogether. facebook is just a medium. Why ban it? Such activities do help these platforms gain more fan base.

    Having said that, I find it intriguing that that there are some skewed policies by facebook as an organization which lets stuff like this to happen while it bans stuff sensitive to jews/israelis etc (e.g. content on holocast, hitler etc).

    Banning or not banning is a question which needs to be decided based purely on merit and be done by some professional having understanding of technicalities of such platforms.Recommend

  • Imran Ali
    May 9, 2011 - 4:16PM

    There are lot of objectionable material on very well know and useful sites and we can not ban each and every site, but being a Muslim we could limit our access and should not use such site for entertainment or time pass, like FACE BOOK, It Should be BANNED, and every one it self can judge his behavior.Recommend

  • Shakaib Iftikhar
    May 12, 2011 - 10:52PM

    Stupid fools they all are, if I have pain in my teeth, I wont remove it from its roots. Why do they have such an extreme approach Recommend

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