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.