[QODLink]
Central & South Asia
Pakistan court orders Facebook ban
Site ordered to be blocked after contest sought Prophet Mohammed's cartoons.
Last Modified: 20 May 2010 09:07 GMT
The ban on Facebook came into effect immediately after the court ruling [GALLO/GETTY]

A Pakistani court has issued a ban on the social networking site Facebook after a user-generated contest page encourged members to post caricatures of Prophet Mohammed. 

The Lahore High Court on Wednesday instructed the Pakistani Telecommunications Authority (PTA) to ban the site after the Islamic Lawyers Movement complained that a page called “Draw Mohammed Day” is blasphemous. 

Sajjad Chaudhry, the presiding judge, instructed officials with the ministry of telecommunications to submit a written reply to the ban by May 31 when courts will open a detailed hearing on the case. A ban is to be enforced in the meantime.

"We have already blocked the URL link and issued instruction to internet service providers,” Khurram Mehran, a spokesperson for the PTA, said.  

About 20 people carried banners outside of courthouse in Lahore, condemning Facebook and praising Prophet Mohammed.

Protest

Lawyers also petitioned the Pakistani government to register a strong protest with Facebook’s owners.

"The competition has hurt the sentiments of the Muslims," lawyer Chaudhry Zulfikar Ali said.

Facebook users in Pakistan, however, told AFP they could still access the site after the ban was imposed on Wednesday. 

Officials with the Pakistani government told the court they had already blocked Facebook pages relating to the competition, but the lawyers group argued that no part of a site can be banned unless the entire site is blocked. 

Pakistan has 45 million Facebook users, according to lawyers.

The Facebook page for "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" had just over 40,000 supporters while the opposing "Against Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" had more than 53,000.  

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.