Pakistan Bans the Internet

23 Jun

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I thought the embaressing episode of the facebook was over and sense had prevailed! Apparently not!! I read the following in the Top Stories section of english daily, The News

BAHAWALPUR: The Lahore High Court has directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to immediately block nine websites for publishing and promoting sacrilegious material, and ordered the PTA chairman to appear in the court on June 28, 2010 along with all relevant material.

Justice Mazher Iqbal Sidhu of the LHC Bahawalpur Bench, while hearing a write petition on Tuesday, ordered blocking of nine websites including Yahoo, MSN, Hotmail, YouTube, Google, Islam Exposed, In The Name Of Allah, Amazon and Bing.

A citizen, Muhammad Sidiq, filed a writ petition No. 3246/2010 in the LHC, seeking a ban on the websites for publishing blasphemous materials and twisting the facts and figure of Holy Quran. Deputy Attorney General Muhammad Hussain Azad also endorsed the viewpoint of the petitioner and demanded blocking of these websites.

Counsel for the petitioner, Latif-ur-Rehman Advocate presented CDs and other evidence in the court, showing that the said websites were publishing sacrilegious material. Later, President High Court Bar Aslam Dhakkar said the court has given a historic decision. He said the legal fraternity would observe a complete strike in Bahawalpur on Wednesday (today) against publication of such material by these websites. He said a meeting would also discuss the situation today.”

Did you stop breathing? Because I did! I then rubbed my eyes and checked the date to see if it was April 1st. It wasnt. Apparently, certain segments of society dont need April Fool’s Day to act foolish. What upset me about this news story – other than the utter absurdity of the demand ofcourse – was the level of ignorance displayed by those demanding the ban. Could the petitioners and the lawgivers maybe have looked into the matter at hand and learnt that sites like Yahoo, Bing and Google are “search engines” and aggregate materials on the internet and are not responsible for the content found on other websites. But it seems like those who dont use the internet and are not familiar with its most fundamental and basic concepts and tools are most concerned about what is on it. Ironic!

The kinder part of my brain wants to believe that this is just an attention seeking ploy. The brother’s judicial were feeling that they were not occupying enough of the media limelight and needed to relaunch their media career with a boom boom pow. So they said – lets knock the internet out! That should make headlines. One of the most injurious results of the lawyer’s movement has been giving the fraternity legal a taste of the media limelight and the feeling of hero worship. They have become addicted and constantly indulge in such behavior to regain airtime lost. But if you do want to take the airwaves by storm, how about you try something new and not something that has already been done. Demanding bans on the internet is so two thousand and late!!!

But seriously, lawyers want to strike and protest, blasphemous material on the internet? and ban it. Well then as one of my friends, AA, suggested they should also petition to ban books, movies, the written word, the pen, the keyboard and anything that has ever been used in or aided and abetted in putting out blasphemous material into the world. Maybe that will make us happy!

I remember we were so enraged when the Americans threatened to bomb us to the Stone Age. Shouldnt have wasted our energy on being angry about that had we known we were going to legislate our way into the stone age ourselves!

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4 Responses to “Pakistan Bans the Internet”

  1. Pixiee, June 23, 2010 at 12:41 am #

    But MSN, hotmail and youtube are still working. :S

  2. Aftab June 23, 2010 at 12:50 am #

    You are right, this is absolutely absurd. How about taking on NRO and corruption and addressing the growing needs of education in the country.
    Walk you talk judge. First apply the principles of Islam in your courts address the issues of free and fair trials.
    Makle sure you dont commute in toyotas and hondas since a lot of the Japenese are not Muslims but Atheists.

    Leave us alone Judge. Let the people of this great nation have the previlidge to learn on and from the internet.

    There are numerous good sites on the internet.

    Now go and sleep in your air conditioned homes paid by tax payers.

    • Shehla Shoaib June 26, 2010 at 2:45 am #

      Well said!

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