The Pakistani Government has blocked two popular websites due to a ‘controversial’ competition being held on Facebook on May 19th and YouTube on May 20th, 2010.


Women supporters of the Islamic political party Jamaate
Islami hold a placard during a protest  against Facebook
in Karachi-Pakistan May 19,  2010. – Reuters

Blocking entire FaceBook, YouTube, and BlueBerry services (in some cases) is so utterly pointless and ludicrous. It just goes to show how intolerant we are as a nation! For us, it’s either “OUR WAY OR THE HIGHWAY”. And for those, who believe that this will push the Pakistani youth towards better ‘PRODUCTIVITY’ (like praying and tableegs)—well, hats off to such wondrous movements!

Women supporters of the Islamic political party Jamaat-e-Islami hold a placard during a protest against Facebook in Karachi-Pakistan May 19, 2010. – Reuters

Pakistan has blocked the popular video sharing website YouTube indefinitely in a bid to contain “blasphemous” material, officials said on Thursday.

The blockade came hours after the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Wednesday directed Internet service providers to stop access to social network site Facebook indefinitely, because of an online competition to draw the Prophet Mohammad cartoons.

Any representation of the Prophet Mohammad is deemed un-Islamic and blasphemous by Muslims.

The PTA decision to block all of Facebook also cuts Pakistanis off from groups and pages based on Websites, dedicated to opposing the competition, which have thousands of more supporters than does the competition.

Along with those banned, some popular websites, including Wikipedia and Flickr, have been inaccessible in Pakistan since Wednesday night. But the spokesman said it happened purely due to a technical reason, and no ban has been imposed on them.

He said the authority was monitoring other websites as well.


The blocking of the two websites would cut off up to a quarter of total Internet traffic in Pakistan.

“It'll have an impact on the overall Internet traffic as they eat up 20-25% of the country's total 65 giga-bytes traffic,” a service provider said.

After the PTA's directives against Facebook and YouTube, Pakistani mobile companies blocked all Blackberry services on Wednesday night, but restored services used by non-corporate users later on Thursday.

“We have intimated to the Blackberry service administrators in Canada to block them and once it's done, the service will be restored fully,” said Farhan Butt, an official at Pakistan's biggest cellular company, Mobilink.

The closure of services worried Blackberry users.

Publications of similar cartoons in Danish newspapers in 2005 sparked deadly protests in Muslim countries. Around 50 people were killed during violent protests in Muslim countries in 2006 over the cartoons, five of them in Pakistan.

Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on Denmark's embassy in Islamabad in 2008, killing six people, saying it was in revenge for publication of the caricatures.

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