Pakistan lifts ban on Facebook

Lahore, May 31 (IANS) A Pakistani court Monday asked the government to restore access to social networking site Facebook and said it should develop a system to block access to ‘blasphemous’ content on the internet.

Justice Ejaz Chaudhry of the Lahore High Court issued the directive, reversing its May 19 order on the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) to block Facebook over ‘blasphemous’ drawings of Prophet Mohammed on the website.

‘Restore Facebook. We don’t want to block access to information,’ Chaudhry told the court.

Mudassir Hussain, an official from the information technology ministry, told the court that all links to ‘blasphemous’ content on the internet would remain blocked in Pakistan, Geo TV reported.

A ban was imposed on Facebook after one of its users organised an online contest calling on people to draw Prophet Mohammed’s cartoon to promote ‘freedom of expression’.

The contest ‘Everyone Draw Mohammed Day’ sparked a worldwide protests, especially in the Muslim countries.

Hearing a petition of a group of Islamic lawyers, the Lahore High Court ordered the government to block Facebook until May 31.

The court Monday also asked the government to develop a system to block access to ‘blasphemous’ content on the internet.

‘It is the government’s job to take care of such things, which spark resentment among the people and bring them onto the streets. They should take steps to block any blasphemous content on the Internet,’ Justice Chaudhry said.