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Pak court bans Facebook

A Pakistani court on Wednesday ordered government to block Facebook in the country over a page encouraging users to post caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed on the site.

world Updated: May 20, 2010 00:25 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad

A Pakistani court on Wednesday ordered government to block Facebook in the country over a page encouraging users to post caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed on the site. The depiction of any prophet is strictly prohibited in Islam as blasphemous

Facebook was no longer accessible to thousands of Pakistanis all over the country from Wednesday as the telecom regulatory body, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) blocked the site on orders of the court. The court ordered the site blocked till May 31.

Controversy erupted over the site last month when a Facebook user set up a page called ‘Draw Mohammed Day’, inviting people to send in their caricatures of the Muslim prophet on May 20.

The move angered thousands of Pakistanis who started an online campaign as well as urging Muslims to act through a chain of SMS messages.

A group of lawyers went a step further on Wednesday and petitioned the court to order a blanket ban on Facebook in Pakistan.

Justice Ejaz Chaudhry of the Lahore High Court directed the PTA to block the site. An interim order has been issued until May 31, when the court is to start a detailed hearing of the case.

A large number of religious clerics, students and lawyers were present in the courtroom.