Lahore High Court Lifts Ban on Facebook

Posted on May 30, 2010
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Law & Justice, Science and Technology, Society
29 Comments
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Adil Najam

The news is finally in. As expected, the Lahore High Court has lifted the ban it had earlier imposed on the social networking site, Facebook.

So, what is the lesson in all of this? Who gained what in this entire episode? And who lost what?

The essentials of the news, as reported in The Express Tribune, are as follows:

The Lahore High Court (LHC) lifted the ban on social networking website Facebook on Monday. During today’s proceedings, the court demanded gaurantees that such content will not be accessible to users in Pakistan. The court observed that the act would be treated as contempt of court if it is repeated again. Meanwhile, deputy attorney general and PTA representative assured the court it would not happen again.

The court also outlined the government’s responsibility in such cases. The Lahore High Court banned Facebook on May 19 for hosting a blasphemous drawing contest and asked PTA to submit a written reply. Menwhile, the next hearing was adjourned till June 15. The popular social networking website was banned by the Lahore High Court after a controversy over it hosting blasphemous caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Muslims across the world were offended by a Facebook page which declared May 20 a day to caricature Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Despite a growing surge of protests by Muslims, Facebook had opted not to remove the page. The court had temporarily banned the social networking site Facebook till May 31 across the country. It had issued the order after an Islamic forum of lawyers sought ban on access to the popular social networking site for holding a contest of drawing caricatures on Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

29 Comments on “Lahore High Court Lifts Ban on Facebook”

  1. Kamal says:
    May 31st, 2010 1:49 am

    What is the lesson:

    We [again] made fools of ourselves in front of the entire world. And that is all we did!

  2. USMAN says:
    May 31st, 2010 2:03 am

    Good decision. The ban was a stupid idea to begin with.

  3. Techie says:
    May 31st, 2010 2:14 am

    Amazed at the picture. These are the people moving public opinion on the future of technology in Pakistan!!!

  4. May 31st, 2010 2:26 am

    @Techie: sorry to burst your bubble but 2 e-polls conducted by Awab Alvi(not a Mullah) and Pro-Pakistani website(against not a Mullah site) gave stats that 70%+ people were in favor of ban. Even in recent tweet Awab alvi admit that the lifting of ban order by LHC is against Public opinion. I appreciate Awab’s sensibility that he realized the reality.

    twtpoll.com/gai283

    bit.ly/bZnvRA

    So far its banned on PTCL, once is lifted, i will happily remove my account by sending a “token of Thanks” to Mark Zukerberg to educate me with His Jewish teachings.

  5. May 31st, 2010 3:13 am

    Facebook comes online again in Pakistan, now Bangladesh bans it on hurting the sentiments of muslims, read everything on my post :

    http://www.worldshotcake.com/web/facebook-finally-goes-online-in-pakistan/

    btw, this is not spam, take care

  6. May 31st, 2010 3:18 am

    Great blog!
    Azme Alishan would like to congratulate you on winning at Pakistan’s first ever blog awards!

    Such initiatives make us proud to be Pakistanis. Together we can take Pakistan to great heights of success!

    Do visit our website http://www.azmealishan.com

  7. Aayjay says:
    May 31st, 2010 6:30 am

    This is laughable: ‘the court observed that the act would be treated as contempt of court if it is repeated again’.

    Now that we have achieved our revolutionary goal of ‘azaad adlia’, we’ll see more and more judges making fools of themselves.

  8. May 31st, 2010 6:49 am

    I am done with depicting myself as “Liberal Muslim” to the world without regard for my religious fundamentals.
    I am angry because facebook did not respond to the disgrace caused to my beloved Prophet (P.B.U.H)
    Faithful billion is a dazzling social network to get connected with your family, friends, classmates and relatives who are far away from you since long. Now, you can share your ideas, thoughts, songs, poetries, and photos with everyone you want to.
    It is simply full of entertainment with respect for everyone. Here at this community, we value your identity; we do not mean to hurt your perspectives for religion, race, color, ideology, ethnicity and gender. In fact, we are here to promote humanity not any specific religion.
    I have deleted my account from facebook and orkut and joint the GreenBillion campaign…
    I am really impressed with this nifty idea of designing such an interesting community.
    I will truly invite you to join me at this platform….
    http://www.faithfulbillion.com
    PAKISTAN ZINDABAD
    SIGNUP NOW!!! You will surely enjoy here.
    Fwd this message you all your friends and network.

  9. Atiq says:
    May 31st, 2010 8:03 am

    I think that now all those so-called liberal people will be more than happy who were against the ban since the very first day but I will still say that decision of PTA to impose the ban was a timely good decision.

  10. Hilal says:
    May 31st, 2010 8:27 am

    Salam,

    I consider myself a ‘practicing’ muslim, and I am Pakistani. And, I believe this ban was for intents and purposes not just counterproductive, but also an extremely RETARDED decision. Those who went all hysterical (or were seemingly ‘concerned’), failed to realize that their rather whimsical actions were and are being used by our beloved govt. to start imposing an information lock down. For instance they may have lifted the ban on youtube but they have blocked ‘specific’ youtube links. They’ve done the same with BBC’s website.

    As far as defending the honor of Rasul Ullah (sal Allahu ‘alayhi wassalam) is concerned here’s a question I have for all those emotionally challenged ‘defenders of faith’ (half of whom don’t even bother praying):

    Wouldn’t it have had been a better idea if some ‘real’ effort was put into a ‘counter’ campaign, showing the beauty and mercy of our Prophet’s (saw) character and life? Why didn’t we bother ? I believe because we aren’t actually concerned we just have this serious problem of collective ‘cognitive dissonance’ where we claim to be something, and do something else.

    Here’s a glimpse of what MUSLIMS were doing in theREST of the WORLD:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xviwk3eCWCU&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0v3-3yCbr8&feature=related

    Why couldn’t Pakistanis do this? What’s wrong with being proactive and meaningful? Do we as Pakistanis imagine ourselves to be the ONLY muslims? OR have we fallen to claptrap that we are ‘special’ people of a ‘special’ land?

    When will we stop using the pretense of ‘faith’ to justify our own idiocy? (Note: I’m not denying the classical ‘punishment’ in Islamic Jurisprudence for a ‘shaatim-e-rasul”, but everything has its time and place).

    Only if we had bothered to “Guide” people, instead of reiterating their own hatred and Islamophobia, with our own pointless actions. In the end I doubt that the way we acted, actually guided any non-muslim towards Islam, or even dispelled any misconceptions. Well done Pakistan!!!!

  11. Eidee Man says:
    May 31st, 2010 10:12 am

    As others have mentioned, we gained nothing, and made fools of ourselves yet again.

    I wish some serious heads in the Pakistani media would come together and make a TV show or something that explains to people (the majority, who are reasonable) how the media cycle works, and how they feed stupidity by giving it so much importance (like Adil outlined in his initial post).

  12. May 31st, 2010 12:06 pm

    Some comments from the ATP Facebook Page:

    - “Right thing to do. This ban was stupid step.”
    - “Fully agree – banned should have done on that page only and not on complete facebook”
    - “good move”
    - “other links which got banned, when they ‘ll be unbanned?”
    - “Objective Achieved, Ban Lifted! Good move by LHC!”
    - “is ko band ke rehna chaye tha… pir say in ko profit huna shuru hu jay ga ab … kuin k hamray log apni tu koi aise cheez use nai karin gay … ham nay tu apni zuban chor de english k leye tu goro oke koi cheez kaisay chor saktay hain…. from one login they are earning 2.5 dollar imagine kar lo agay …”
    - “join http://www.millatfacebook.com
    - “shame 4 facebook”
    - “hen a Nation’s sovereignty is compromised by there own rulers, all there is left is to cry and hue. Thanks to Musharaf who brought Zardari.. and..Thanks to Sir. Asif Ali Zardari, soon Pakistan will reach its bottom and then there will be a revolution. Insah Allah”
    - “the people who are against facebook, why dont you guys stop using it and leave others in peace!”
    - “Sharing you best is Sedhika Jahria, sharing knowledge = intellectual,and emotional development many folds. But the catch is —- it has to be based on facts and truth. merely giving Fatwahs against others, only makes one, into a dwarf of the underworld.”

  13. May 31st, 2010 12:38 pm

    MY CHALLENGE TO THE BLASPHEMING CARTOONISTS (POEM)
    I challenge
    All those who defile my faith
    And draw cartoons
    About my beloved Prophet Muhammad
    The Prophet of Islam
    And God’s mercy to all mankind
    To face me in any contest
    Involving debate, reasoning,
    A televised discussion
    On the responsibility that comes
    With the freedom of expression
    And speech
    Or even a public conference
    Along with learned men and women
    Of all religions, beliefs and ideologies.
    I even challenge these cartoonists
    Who love to denigrate my beloved Prophet
    Who is also the last Messenger of God
    Whom we Muslims call Allah
    To a duel to death
    Whenever they like
    At any place they like
    Armed or unarmed
    The choice of combat is theirs.

    But before I make this challenge
    A formal affair
    I would like to ask these cartoonists
    Why and what for do they like to insult
    The Prophet of Islam and the Muslims
    All around the world?
    What is their logic?
    Can they explain logically?
    We Muslims are defamed worldwide
    As terrorists and militants
    As people with no tolerance
    For people of other faiths.
    Yet we have never defiled
    Any messenger of God or any prophet
    Mentioned in the Holy Bible.
    And we have not cast mud on
    The followers of the Vedas and Puranas
    The Bhagavad Gita or the Ramayana.
    We have not at any point in time
    Defamed Buddha, Mahavira or Shiva
    Rama, Sita, or Shankar and Arjun.
    We respect even Confucious
    Aesop and Helen and even Bathsheba
    We hold the Virgin Mary, Christ’s mother
    In the deepest of reverence.
    We do not draw caricatures
    Of even Hanuman, Bheema or Draupadhi.
    We know that this is just not right
    In the book of universal human conduct.
    Yet we are being defamed and defiled
    And our Prophet Muhammad is being blasphemed
    More and more with each passing day
    In newspapers and magazines
    In Norway and other such countries
    And of late even on the internet sites
    Of “Facebook” and other nefarious pages
    Where those who love to have sex with their mothers
    Sisters and daughters
    And even fornicate, calling themselves gays
    And who do not even spare dogs and donkeys
    Monkeys and apes
    Bears and pigs
    Who have no etiquettes about healthy sex
    Or even the fear of God in their satan-ruled hearts
    To slander and slur the Muslims
    And their beloved Holy Prophet:
    All…all being done in the name of freedom
    Freedom of expression and speech.
    Will you wise men and women of other faiths
    Sit and observe quietly
    If your religious sages and saints
    Are made fun of by some zealots among Muslims?
    Will you? O, tell me, I pray thee, will you?
    Then why not use the same scales of judgement
    And stop this castigation of Muslims
    And their beloved Prophet Muhammad?
    What makes you sit silently and watch the mayhem
    Commited by the insane of your communities?
    Where has your sense of honour, justice, equality
    Liberty and fraternity gone away?
    Or have your hearts and minds been sealed
    By the devilish suggestions of wealthy satans
    Who make you sit on the thrones of power and glory?

    Tell me O you wise and learned sages
    Saints and bishops
    And you too, O you honourable Pope at the Vatican
    For how long will you allow this
    Vandalism and bigotry to foster and nurture?
    How long will this fanatic insolence go on?
    Yeah, tell me, if you can, O ye guardians of your faith
    For how long will you sit and yawn
    Such frenzic insanity against the Muslims worldwide?
    Where is your commitment to the Bible gone?

    Tell me O you Pope in the Vatican
    Is this the respect for all faiths
    That you and those who follow you blindly
    Preach day in and day out?

    Tell me O you Anglican chieftains
    Templars and Saxons
    Mormons and Methodists
    Seventh Day Adventists
    And all you other sects
    Is this the Christinaity the blessed Jesus taught you?
    Is this what hia faithful disciples preached?
    Is this what Saint Paul imbibed in you?

    Tell me O ye self-proclaimed defenders
    Of human dignity, tolerance and righteous morals?
    Is this what your faith has taught you:
    To mock and ridicule other religions?
    And insult the holy men of God Almighty?
    Tell me please, and if you cannot
    Send your advocates to battle with me
    In word, reasoning, dialogue or duel…
    …I am ready for each and anyone of you
    Wherever and whenever you like.
    This is a vow I make
    With my Lord God Almighty
    And all His messengers and prophets
    Most of all this is my promise
    To my beloved Prophet Muhammad
    On whom be peace and the blessings of Allah
    Forever and ever…ever and ever.

    © Muhammad Naveed Ahmed

  14. May 31st, 2010 12:40 pm

    O YE ARABS (POEM)
    O ye Arabs
    Busy in enjoying life
    Wake up ere it’s too late!
    Can’t you see
    How Islam is being portrayed
    By the followers of Satan?
    You have hearts
    You have minds
    But you have become indolent.
    Even with wealth
    You do not rise for Islam
    And revel with wine, horses, women.
    Wake up ye!
    And do what you can
    For Islam and the believers.
    If ye don’t
    Then one day ye will
    Be replaced by better men.
    Men who shall
    Rise and deal with bigotry
    Men like Saladin the great.

    © Muhammad Naveed Ahmed

  15. May 31st, 2010 12:42 pm

    SAD CHILDREN PRAY: EVEN INNOCENCE RECOGNISES DEFAMATION (POEM)
    Even children
    In my homeland
    Are praying for God’s help
    Against those evil schemers
    That are drawing cartoons
    And defiling our beloved Prophet Muhammad.
    Even sparrows are wailing
    As they circle the summer sky
    Like joining the little ones
    Boys and girls with sad looks
    And uplifted hands
    Praying to the God of Abraham
    Adam, Eve, Moses and Aaron
    Elisha, Job, Joseph and Mariam
    To send down His wrath from heaven
    On the cartoonist followers of Satan.
    Soon will the sky thunder and roar
    As my poetic heart tells me
    And a storm shall devour all those sinners
    A storm like an unprecendented Twister
    Shall obliterate the defilers of the Prophet
    And bring forth a better generation.

    © Muhammad Naveed Ahmed

  16. Sami says:
    May 31st, 2010 12:44 pm

    I find the picture you have used both funny and sad.

    THESE are our leaders. Has any one of them ever even used a computer?

  17. May 31st, 2010 12:47 pm

    O MY BELOVED, I NEED YOUR PRAYERS (POEM)
    I am loved
    By the most beautiful of women
    Ever created by God Almighty
    In the years since I was born.
    I love her too
    With the same incalculable intensity
    So much so
    That my heart, mind and soul
    In fact, every breath that I take
    Owe I to her and her majestic love.
    I shall not name her
    Till the right time comes…

    Yet even with so much love
    Overflowing with boundless energy
    From my being
    I am unable to control my angst
    At watching people killing other people
    In the name of religion and faith.
    I cannot come to terms with the fact
    When the newspapers around the world reported
    How an old wealthy piece of filth called man
    Forcibly married a very young girl
    A girl who was old enough to be his daughter.
    And not content with his sexually hideous acts
    That hedgehog of a man
    Molested her and killed her
    More barbarically than Chengiz Khan would have done.

    My lady love tells me with utmost tenderness
    To pay not heed to such incidents
    And quietly do my duty in helping mankind.
    But my spirit revolts deep inside
    When I see injustice being done
    Wherever and whenever it may be.
    And a “Samson” inside me awakes
    To annihilate the rot and scum of earth
    Singlehandedly as it does appear
    But with the angels of Almighty Allah
    Helping me in my cleansing act.

    I am loved and I am lucky
    But to help those who do need me
    Is a fire that runs in my blood
    And I care not for what might happen
    To me as I demolish the demon.

    O my lady love pray for me
    That I remain invincible
    Like I have always been
    So that the evil mischief mongers
    Be uprooted from here completely.
    O my love shouldn’t I be angry
    Should I not be hurt or grieved
    When some demonic assholes take out their pens
    And draw cartoons of God’s beloved Prophet*?
    Tell me O my love if you can
    How can I all this mischief stand
    Without doing nothing against such evils?
    I love you and know fully well
    That you love me even more
    But my fairest lady it is not fair
    To ridicule or make fun of my religion
    Like being done by the freaks of Satan.
    I challenge each and every one of them
    To face me in dialogue, debate or battle
    And show them a taste of God’s firm mettle
    Breathed in me by his angels and fairies
    O my beloved I must destroy God’s enemies.
    I am not afraid of speech or reasoning
    Nor am I a coward in fighting
    You know me well so keep on praying
    That I with God’s help prove their ending.
    Like Samson destroyed the idol Dagon
    And Ali, Prophet Muhammad’s cousin
    Brought down the gates of Gaza on foes
    Even I too may live up to my vows.

    © Muhammad Naveed Ahmed

  18. Adnan Siddiqi says:
    May 31st, 2010 12:55 pm

    Eidee: What’s your stance about banning every youtube link which hurts your President Zardari and PPP?

  19. May 31st, 2010 1:08 pm

    Who dignified and adored My Kaaba with worship and prayers?
    Who embraced My Qur’an with its light in their hearts?
    Who struck lightning while battling Romans and Persians?
    Who knelt and bowed in humility when the Azaan echoed?
    No doubt, they were your ancestors, butwhat are you?
    With hands spread out for charity, like beggars are you.
    Divided into sects and separated as clans,
    Are these the traits you boast of to glorify time’s span?
    O, Of course you are Syeds, Mirzas and Afghans too!
    But O ye proud ones, tell Me, are you Muslims too?

    EPITAPH

    ….If you are loyal to Muhammad My Messenger, than I am all yours,
    What is this world in value, even Destiny is yours.”
    (Tranlations of verses taken from Allama Iqbal’s “Jawab-e-Shikwa) — Translated by Muhammad Naveed Ahmed.

  20. Aslam Khan says:
    May 31st, 2010 1:12 pm

    The ban was a stupid idea and made us all look even more stupid than we actually are! Glad at least this stupidity is now over. Although other stupidity thrives

  21. Shirjeel says:
    May 31st, 2010 3:00 pm

    Well it was sensible thing to do. I think we should have left it to Muslims themselves to decide whether they want to boycott Facebook or not.

    I have one reservation about the use of photograph of few bearded persons protesting with this article. We are talking about a coort decision lifting the ban. Perhaps the logo of the Facebook would have suffice.

    It is somewhat (not completely) similar to what BBC have done. Please see the following link. Showing an individual (perhaps a woman) with Niqab, only eyes showing and some Arabic written on the head band. Completely irrelevant. A classic example of negative, biased and stereotyping coverage.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/default.stm

  22. AHR says:
    May 31st, 2010 4:58 pm

    What happened in Lahore is truly one of the saddest and heart-wrenching incidents I have ever experienced as a Pakistani. When places of worship no longer carry the sanctity they deserve, the stark divide in religious ideology is made clear in Pakistan. After wandering around various blogs and reading horrible hate posts by people who label themselves as Muslims, I felt compelled to write to the terrorists and their followers directly. It is mesmerizing that there are people in my country who actually applaud the heinous crime of killing innocent people, carrying out a crime against Islam, a crime against Pakistan. I am shocked at the people who have the audacity to support those who kill in the name of our religion, one that bounds my faith for the timeless virtues of tolerance, compassion, and forgiveness.

    http://bit.ly/avZfHU (http://ahraza.wordpress.com)

  23. PM says:
    May 31st, 2010 8:44 pm

    Good decision. Wish they did not have to make it. Because the ban was a bad idea that we should never have made.

  24. Faithful says:
    June 1st, 2010 1:55 am

    Dear Muslims,

    Facebook has officially reopened in Pakistan. We will appreciate if you invite all your friends to join FaithfulBillion Network. Let us not forget that facebook did not take any action against our cry for deleting pages that were disrespecting our Beloved Prophet (P.B.U.H.).
    We don not need facebook or any other network that insults, disrespects and degrades our Prophet Muhammed (P.B.U.H.).

    We will react to it as we strongly condemn, blasphemous caricature competition held at Facebook and that every other act, which can possibly become the cause of spewing hatred and inciting violence.

    FaithfulBillion.com an endeavor to show to the world that we muslims are merely not an above billion number of individuals, but we are part of such an undivided group, which exists with strongest element of commonality in their beliefs.

    We need your help to make this a success…
    Invite friends from your facebook and orkut account to join us…
    Regards,
    FaithfulBillion team

    http://www.faithfulbillion.com

    SIGNUP NOW!!! You will surely enjoy here.

  25. June 1st, 2010 6:17 am

    I am thinking of not to use fb now.

  26. Engr. Arif says:
    June 1st, 2010 7:29 am

    We attached our beloved Prophet (PBUH) tightly.
    We shamed on those people they called Muslim but do not leave/ forgate simply a website for their Prophet (PBUH).
    The actual stupidness is the Slaveness of Western peoples.

  27. Ammar says:
    June 1st, 2010 5:22 pm

    Already deleted my fb account

  28. Sami says:
    June 6th, 2010 3:06 am

    Amazing how everyone is now back on FB including those doing the shouting.

    Kahani khatam, paisa hazam!

  29. June 10th, 2010 7:21 am

    Most of the Muslims haven’t quit it.:S

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