Facebook ban: Plaintiff stays logged on 14 hours a day

Published: May 16, 2011
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Azhar Siddique is also founder of social networking website for Muslims.

Azhar Siddique is also founder of social networking website for Muslims.

LAHORE: 

The lawyer who has twice moved the Lahore High Court to ban Facebook in Pakistan has 1,575 friends and spends an average of 14 hours a day on the social networking website, he told The Express Tribune.

Advocate Muhammad Azhar Siddique, on whose petition access to the website was banned in the country for two weeks last year, told The Express Tribune he stayed logged into Facebook from 8am to 10pm every day.

Asked whether he considered it hypocritical to spend so much time on Facebook when he was trying to get it banned, Siddique said that he checked the site “to make it mend its ways”. He said much of his time was spent looking at messages from people informing him of any blasphemous material on the site.

He also uses the website to share how his cases are going with his Facebook friends, including his petitions to ban the website. Siddique has posted 323 pictures on his profile, including of family, friends and news clippings of his cases published in the local press.

Siddique first moved the LHC against the website last year because of a Facebook page called ‘Draw Muhammad (pbuh) Day’ in which blasphemous caricatures were put on display. Acting on his plea, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority banned Facebook from March 19 to March 31.

After that, Siddique launched the social networking website Millatfacebook, which billed itself as a social networking website for the world’s more than 1.5 billion Muslims and as a rival to Facebook.

He also lodged a complaint against Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes, the owners of the website, and a woman named Andy, the alleged founder of the offending Facebook page, at Lahore’s Civil Lines Police Station under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code. The police sealed the FIR after registering it.

Siddique filed another petition against Facebook earlier this month again seeking a ban on the website for again hosting a page of drawings of the Holy Prophet (pbuh). The LHC chief justice, hearing the petition, last Thursday told the federal government to think about blocking Facebook for “holding a competition of sacrilegious caricatures”. Another petition by Siddique seeking implementation of these orders is pending before the LHC.

He said as a Muslim, he was doing Islam a service by moving court against the blasphemous material on the site. He said after his petition last year, all the blasphemous material on Facebook on the Draw Muhammad Day 2010 page was removed.

“This is the right way to record a protest against the blasphemy on the Internet,” Siddique said. “There has been no violent protest in the province since I moved the court against the blasphemous caricatures on Facebook. The court proceedings have calmed the public sentiment.”

He denied moving the petitions against Facebook to gain publicity, saying he had many other cases in the courts that were covered in the press. He said the aim of launching Millatfacebook was to counter Facebook and show the Western world that Muslims were not against modern technology, just against the abuse of it. The site has 437,596 registered members.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 16th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (37)

  • EM
    May 16, 2011 - 9:33AM

    Why is the guy even being taken seriously when it is very apparent that his ulterior motive is to get rid of competition. And he is playing dirty to get what he wants. If he is such a great Muslim, why is his site called MillatFacebook? Didn’t anyone tell him stealing is bad and he cannot use trademarked names?

    This guy needs to get a life!!!Recommend

  • uhhh
    May 16, 2011 - 9:39AM

    Hahahaha. one word. hypocriteRecommend

  • Benish
    May 16, 2011 - 9:41AM

    Cant get the idea of forming a seperate Islamic Facebook when we need to communicate with world more than ever. The fact is that we have alienated ourselves with the rest of the world and are happy in our own created eutopia. Do you think, cutting off from the globe will stop them doing what they want to, instead realizing them how we feel and why, through disscussions will pave the way for mutual peace and tolerance.Recommend

  • Columbus
    May 16, 2011 - 9:53AM

    guess for the guy, Facebook is another form of being rejected by chicks…Recommend

  • Omer Akif
    May 16, 2011 - 9:56AM

    Dude coz of you our complete blackberry services are still down and its been like what 1.5 years now?Recommend

  • Bilal
    May 16, 2011 - 10:00AM

    This guy is an idiot. Recommend

  • May 16, 2011 - 10:02AM

    ‘He said as a Muslim, he was doing Islam a service by moving court against the blasphemous material on the site’

    sorry but you are doing disservice to Islam by doing a ridiculous act of banning a website. How many websites are you going to ban? are you in your senses? Is this how you think you are doing to save Prophet’s image? You are doing no favours to the esteemed prophet’s life by showing this religion being practiced by people who have no sense at all. Change peoples perspective by your acts… Recommend

  • May 16, 2011 - 10:02AM

    All one can say is that this ‘lawyer’ not ‘liar’ is using Islam’s name to popularize his own rubbish web site. Its indeed shameful and thanks Express Tribune for exposing his hypocrisy. Recommend

  • May 16, 2011 - 10:05AM

    He is just doing so, To get publicity of his own website, if Facbook stays live in pakistan, then how can his website be famous? Poor Man!!!Recommend

  • Umayr Masud
    May 16, 2011 - 10:13AM

    “The court proceedings have calmed the public sentiment.” hmm .. says a lot about the taliban styled “qazi” courts we have hereRecommend

  • MAD
    May 16, 2011 - 10:14AM

    The LHC has too much time on their hands and obviously this lawyer when hes not tryuing to ban facebook is logged in as well.Recommend

  • Judi
    May 16, 2011 - 10:22AM

    An evil genius who want to market his nefarious design to promote his business at the cost of freedom of expression and freedom of association of all pakistanis. May be to avenge the FB for its role in middle-east revolution. Dictatorial forces in Pakistan preempt such people’s interaction by banning and blocking the Face book.Recommend

  • NOOR
    May 16, 2011 - 10:32AM

    like the beautifully shaped nails in the pictureRecommend

  • May 16, 2011 - 10:36AM

    Clearly he’s a hypocrite. I’m sure he’s bluffing and as a matter of fact has absolutely no understanding of how social networks or even search engines work, hence his “moving” the courts being useless and down right ridiculous.

    If he were any smarter, he’d target the core of these issues and he’ll end up with a dozen other matters he needs to address. Apne andar ki kharaabi to nazar aati nahi, doosron ko sudhaarne chale hain!Recommend

  • Omer Akif
    May 16, 2011 - 10:42AM

    Dude coz of you our complete blackberry services are still down and its been like what 2 years now?Recommend

  • Atif
    May 16, 2011 - 10:51AM

    Simply he is trying to get his competitor out from local market, poor mentality He has nothing to do with the issue of blasphemy. Recommend

  • Adnan S. Khan
    May 16, 2011 - 11:09AM

    14 hours on facebook? he sounds crazier than me!Recommend

  • May 16, 2011 - 11:57AM

    Banning facebook is not the solution. It would not stop them having another such day and there will be over 2.5 million less people to raise their voice against such a movement on FB by a ban. And it should be a personal act of faith not an imposed order.

    Azhar Sahib, If you are reading it and really concerned about Islam. Go to Alexa’s chart of top 100 sites being accessed from Pakistan. There are at least 10 porn sites in that list. Massive amount of traffic is given to these sites each day, spoiling our youth and may be elders alike. If you are so very much concerned about Islam, do us a favor of signing a petition of banning those sites (obviously if you are not a regular visitors of those sites yourself.) so to save lot of wasted time and moral. Recommend

  • Saad Durrani
    May 16, 2011 - 12:43PM

    Oh please. That Millat Facebook celebrated Taseer’s death. Though Taseer or Qadri were not heroes in my eyes but celebrating one’s death on your very “Islamic” website shows what kind of mindset you belong to.Recommend

  • White Russian
    May 16, 2011 - 1:11PM

    @EM:
    As long as there exist judges who take a hypocritical crank so seriously, we are all in danger of being pushed from one absurdity to other.Recommend

  • Zeeshan
    May 16, 2011 - 1:48PM

    What a doucheRecommend

  • M Ali Khan
    May 16, 2011 - 1:54PM

    Mauqa Parasti in the name of Islam? sounds very un-original!Recommend

  • May 16, 2011 - 2:03PM

    There is a conflict of interest in this case. How can this guy fill a petition against Facebook while he is running his “Millat Facebook” (which in itself is not an original name)? It is so obvious that he is trying to get more publicity and users for his website through this lawsuit. The courts should throw this case out simply because it has no merit. Recommend

  • Moderate
    May 16, 2011 - 2:57PM

    Stop calling him hypocrite, who among you is not a hypocrite? Yes, take a deep breath and let the reality hit you, everyone is a hypocrite.

    Now coming to the real point, banning facebook will not offer the solution. Facebook has dual standards (yes, you cannot create a hitler or anti-holocaust page but you can create pages to insult Islam) but only way to stop it is by telling non-Muslims about the fundamental values of Islam that are compassion, justice and tolerance. I dont mean to do it by our misguided younger lot (who thinks by dancing, creating music or taking your clothes off, you can improve your identity, NO!) but by the virtues practiced and preached by the followers of Muhammad PBUH.Recommend

  • saher
    May 16, 2011 - 2:57PM

    there is no scarcity of weirdos in Pak, .. they do provide us with much needed comic relief!:PRecommend

  • M
    May 16, 2011 - 4:23PM

    This guy needs a life lol Recommend

  • Sam
    May 16, 2011 - 7:03PM

    Lollllll…..Lets start a campaign to get Facebook to delete his account. :DRecommend

  • Sarasha
    May 16, 2011 - 7:17PM

    Instead of running around wasting energy on petitions, why not use your brain productively and make a virus to hack the offending page? If I remember correctly were it not our guys who hacked youtube for a day and made the site remove some offending material? As a result yt lost billions of dollars. Attack em where it hurts you retard. Banning the site wont help you either. How else are you gonna spend your 14 hours a day then? Recommend

  • EA```
    May 16, 2011 - 8:53PM

    MAybe he should move towards the ban of libraries, internet and life in general as its filled with such ‘Blasphemous’ stuffRecommend

  • Zohaib Hafeez
    May 16, 2011 - 10:05PM

    Sorry to say but we (Pakistani) Muslims never think about what we are doing, a non-Muslim just creates a page and we start promoting it by making Groups & Causes.
    Results: We all are reading those disgraceful titles of Groups and Causes which keeps on appearing at our Home page.Recommend

  • Taha
    May 17, 2011 - 1:24AM

    “…he stayed logged into Facebook from 8am to 10pm every day….. Siddique said that he checked the site “to make it mend its ways”.”
    rrright!! This guy sounds like he’s got one serious stalking problemRecommend

  • Raha
    May 17, 2011 - 11:20AM

    Did NOT expect this from Tribune, atleast you guys should RESEARCH. I am disappointed to see such low-class journalism this from tribune. 2 things for a starter:

    Mr. siddique is NOT the founder of MFB. Mr. Omer Zaheer Meer is, who before launching contacted FB offices and launched a campaign to motivate FB to follow it’s own guidelines and remove the offensive materials. However FB even declined to talk to them anymore. Later on after some protests, Mr. Siddique was one of the many people who SUPPORTED the launch of MFB but he is in NO WAY even member of the founding team let alone a founder. When the issue gained international importance, FB told BBC and Fox News that they FORMALLY supported the ridicule of Prophet Muhammad PBUH (Nauzbillah) and than MFB was certainly the way forward.
    MFB is the Largest Muslim Social Network even before it’s first Birthday with OVER 500,000 Members now well above the claimed 437,000.

    I hope you will rectify this and for details you can contact MFB team at mfb@gitv.pk to atleast get your facts verified.

    Best WishesRecommend

  • Jeremy
    May 17, 2011 - 4:13PM

    he a hypocritcRecommend

  • Radial
    May 18, 2011 - 4:47AM

    there are many trolls on facebook who advocate banning it, yet see no hypocrisy in using it. in fact there are many numbnuts who “supported” the facebook ban last year but were using VPNs to access it anyway. most pakistanis have lost the ability to think at all.Recommend

  • OA
    May 18, 2011 - 1:34PM

    I hear that Muhammad Azhar Siddique is currently working on a class action lawsuit in which he plans to file a petition against all the women who have rejected his “fraandship” requests on facebook. Recommend

  • lala
    May 18, 2011 - 10:42PM

    to all modern mindsets here at tribune, please wake up. can’t you see, in name of “freedom of expression” face book is biggest biased medium. i m glad, i never even bothered to create account there. plus i am not sure, i m hypocrite or not. but i happily tell ppl to stop using face book via proving them, one can live without it.
    one more humble request, the time average on face book ( average / day), invest quarter of that time and read history, things will be more clear. sorry if it hurts. i believe, truth should be told.Recommend

  • Radial
    May 28, 2011 - 7:54AM

    @lala, its a matter of choice. the government or courts should not be in the business of deciding whether or not to ban facebook, nor should they ban whatever rubbish you spend your time doing.Recommend

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