LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) has directed the federal government to lodge an official protest with the US government over the Facebook fiasco.
In a detailed judgement to ban the website for hosting a web page conducting a competition of sacrilegious caricatures, Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry of the LHC ordered the foreign ministry to raise the issue at the international level. Justice Chaudhry said that in case a protest was not lodged with the US State Department, the minister for foreign affairs would have to appear before the court on May 31 in order to explain what stopped the ministry from complying with the court’s order.
The judge also directed the ministry of foreign affairs to submit a copy of the official protest in the court. Justice Chaudhry, dictating the foreign ministry what to say in the complaint, said Facebook was governed under the legal jurisdiction of the US as per the country’s laws of commerce and business. He said the complaint should state that the global social networking website has deliberately and recklessly hurt feelings of Muslims, causing them discomfort.
He also asked the ministry to add that Facebook intentionally avoided taking any measures to block the blasphemous contest. In the meanwhile, the Lahore High Court Bar Association’s human rights committee has decided to move the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Facebook. The committee on Friday decided to pursue a case against the owner of the social networking website. Committee members condemned the act through by passing a resolution and called it a violation of the human rights charter of the United Nations.
They have also demanded of the UN to take action against Facebook. Also on Friday, protest rallies were taken out across the country against the website. In Karachi, the main protest rally was taken out from New Memon Mosque after Friday prayers. The protest was led by leaders of the Jamiat Ulema-e- Pakistan. They demanded boycott of all Western goods and snapping of diplomatic ties with Western countries. In Sukkar, numerous protest rallies were taken out on the call of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, Sunni Tehreek and Jamat-e- Islami.
The protesters burnt tyres and demanded the government sever diplomatic and trade relations with countries involved in the crime. Over in Lahore, the traders union also staged a protest demonstration and condemned the act. Protest rallies were also taken out in Multan, DG Khan, Bahawalpur, Sialkot, Gujrat and other cities.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 22nd, 2010.