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Indians protest against the government control over censorship of internet usage in Mumbai. – Reuters Photo/File
Indians protest against the government control over censorship of internet usage in Mumbai. – Reuters Photo/File
With more than seven million YouTube users in Pakistan, the ban has already had a far-reaching impact. – AFP (File Photo)
With more than seven million YouTube users in Pakistan, the ban has already had a far-reaching impact. – AFP (File Photo)

ISLAMABAD: The top judge of Pakistan on Monday took suo motu notice on “ever increasing blasphemous material circulating on the internet,” indicated by a British national of Pakistani origin, said a press release issued by the Supreme Court.

Barrister Amjad Malik, the applicant, prayed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry would issue necessary directions to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the government and other concerned institutions of the country to block such “objectionable pages promoting blasphemy in the name of freedom of expression.”

The applicant also urged the Supreme Court to direct for meaningful steps for the international community to protect the name of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

Barrister Malik drew attention of the apex court towards the blasphemous material for “having far reaching implications on the minds, the lives and liberties of mainstream Muslim population.”

It may be mentioned that YouTube – a video-sharing website – has also been blocked in Pakistan by the PTA over ‘Innocence of Muslims,’ a blasphemous movie that angered Muslims around the world.

Fearing a violent reaction and the subsequent denial of YouTube to remove the anti-Islam film, the website was blocked on September 18, 2012 on the orders of then prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf.

The site was back on earlier this year but was blocked once again after a few hours.

Comments (72) Closed

Asif Ali Jun 10, 2013 09:37pm

At this rate the Day is not far when whole of Internet is blocked by government.

Ahmed Jun 10, 2013 09:40pm

Good idea. Why, may I ask, are the learned jurist who is petitioning a Barrister in UK? He should be charged with blasphemy for promoting British laws which permit, among other things, freedom of speech which in turn makes possible the unIslamic material basing his case on. Someone should petition the CJ to take suo moto notice of this as well.

faisal Jun 10, 2013 09:45pm

Oh the high and mighty CJ, defender of the faith!!!

Dude1 Jun 10, 2013 09:55pm

huh so a British national of Pakistan Origin who lives in Britain actually files a case to block internet in Pakistan hypocrisy at its best. How can someone block the internet? Its like saying i don't like the scenery on the highway so let's block the highway. It seems like people don't understand how Internet works. Do what i do when i see something offensive i just ignore and don't go to the website. Problem solved

Irfan Jun 10, 2013 09:56pm

Ahh, the same CJ who goes hiding on organizations making hate speeches, preaching terrorism and killings of innocent people. but becomes a macho on internet content

Ayesha Khan Jun 10, 2013 09:57pm

Freedom of speech is another innovative strategy by the west, just like they sparked Arab Spring in the third world countries to unrest further, the peace situation. Al those sites that contain objectionable data should be blocked for life time. The life was normal even before they ever existed. There should be no compromise on the honor of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh ) Period.

Imran Jun 10, 2013 10:41pm

What a waste of energies this blasphemy law is creating in Pakistan. Kill and ban your way out of this (cyber bullying). That is the solution, right?. Common sense has taken flight as emotional thinking rules the "ummah".

Masoud Jun 10, 2013 11:02pm

I fail to understand why OIC & other Islamic bodies are mum on this important issue. When will they wake up

HaiHai Jun 10, 2013 11:06pm

Let me state unequivocally, that the freedom of expression is far more important than this concept of blasphemy and also than the name of Prophet Mohammad! Let his name defend itself, rather than hide behind blasphemy laws.

HaiHai Jun 10, 2013 11:10pm

@faisal: Good point!

Nasiroski Jun 10, 2013 11:36pm

And what exactly "Honourable CJ" going to do?? somebody tell him this is not run by PPP member and PML-N is ruling now.

Sarah Jun 11, 2013 12:10am


Pathanoo Jun 11, 2013 12:14am

YEAAA!!!! Pakistan live in darkness. Don't ever allow freedom of speech or expression.


mukhtar Jun 11, 2013 12:23am

@Asif Ali:

And what is wrong with that? Was there any Internet during the PBUH time? Pakistan does not need Internet, Pakistan needs more Islam.

Siddique Malik Jun 11, 2013 12:50am

What a hypocrite this "British national of Pakistani origin" is. If he tries to move British judiciary to uphold his anachronistic behavior, he will become a laughing stock of British society. So he approaches Pakistani judiciary, which is more than to ready to oblige. . Siddique Malik, Louisville, Kentucky, USA.

Ahmer Jun 11, 2013 12:54am

Software can easily be created that blocks only the blasphemous materail and not the entire site. Pakistan has the talent to make it. What it needs is just a lead and encouragement from the leaders.

debater Jun 11, 2013 12:57am

Why not block everything or anything to do with the west including BMW 7series that Chief Justice choose after being reinstated and also Mercedes he choose in Chief of Army Staff term.

Aftab Jun 11, 2013 02:18am

That mind blowing situation when, in a country, youtube is blocked but all the tools to unblock it are widely available.

babbarsher Khan Jun 11, 2013 03:16am

mozef Jun 11, 2013 03:44am

Let's start blocking or killing everything which we don't agree with and which does not strictly follow the way we think. We'll soon become a great nation.

jdshami Jun 11, 2013 04:11am

@Ahmed: There is no such thing as FREEDOM OF SPEECH, ask me I live in the United States of America

Imran Jun 11, 2013 04:14am

I want my Pakistan back (from the 70's).

malole Jun 11, 2013 05:11am

Which article in constitution guarantees our freedom of speech and is not the CJ supposed to defend it?

Urfi Jun 11, 2013 05:50am

@Ahmed: No one can ever force people to stop talking or stop thinking. CJ's suo moto notice is not going to stop people from speaking their minds. We can however, change people's minds by acting according to the teachings of our beloved Prophet and those of the Holy Quran. If we are kind and respectful to each other and to the non-Muslims; if we practice justice; if we show care for all mankind and their properties; if we show patience and love when dealing with difficult situations; if we stop waste of life, knowledge, property, natural resources and all other blessings of Allah; if people feel and are safe from our actions and our tongues; then they will automatically say, "This Prophet Muhammad PBUH was a great man who taught his followers well, and these Muslims are a great nation who even today follow their prophet's teachings." This is how we can stop blasphemy, not by CJ issuing a decree to block the Internet.

gp65 Jun 11, 2013 07:54am

Mr. Malik not petition in UK where he is a practicing Barrister? Because he would be laughed out of the court if he did and he knows it.

Wajeeh Jun 11, 2013 08:31am

God knows what is going to happen in this country be ready for the day when internet is blocked and you have to correspond through Pakistan Post. Every one here who have authority is trying level best to push us into dark ages. God bless us.

Akil Akhtar Jun 11, 2013 09:29am

Good move, we should make sure we block anything that is not suitable to our sensabilities and standards. the west removes anything that goes against their sensabilities, such as anything agianst Israel, gays etc. Our people really suffer form inferiority complex and think anything and everything promoted by west is good for us.

Unknown Jun 11, 2013 09:44am

Throughout my life I have always wondered why are they so afraid of any criticism of Islam and why is it always dealt with violently. What is it that they are hiding from us ordinary Muslims or what is it they do not want us to know.

saman Jun 11, 2013 10:09am

@Asif Ali: agree with u

slave Jun 11, 2013 10:10am

does the picture match the news-piece? or is it that dawn's trying to force its own views on readers? Sounds like a contempt of court to me...

Parivel Jun 11, 2013 10:15am

Whose job is to protect? is it GOD who has to protect the peoples of the world or the peoples must protect the GOD.

Really unfortunate to have such foolish laws in the name of god which pulled down Pakistan already... Requesting wise peoples of pakistan to concentrate on economic growth instead of spending your time & energy on such a non productive activities.

Ibrahim Jun 11, 2013 10:51am

Banning any website or content deemed blasphemous is not the solution. Need of the hour is to promote the true teachings of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). We need to tell the world of his morals, his humility, his kindness, his truthfulness, his treatment of the slaves, his giving rights to the women and so much more. More and more articles and short presentations showing the character and life of the Holy Prophet(peace be upon him) need to be aired on the internet. Moreover we should say durud on our beloved Holy Prophet(peace be upon him) for exalting his station and for our own betterment.

Fauzi Mahmood Jun 11, 2013 10:54am

As China, Pakistan should start its own search engine or with little help from IT department Chinese site can be used. West is useless in every issue. Chinese culture and technology are the best,

Danish A. Jun 11, 2013 11:25am

When we ban an entire major website and other content in the name of "blasphemy", instead of defending some religious personality or view, we are doing something else. What we are actually doing is defending our inability to grow as a civilized nation beyond the primitive idea that it is better to repeal freedom of press, expression, and information so we can enjoy the freedom to not be offended. (please publish)

Nony Jun 11, 2013 12:36pm

Let us close our eyes to the world and live peacefully in darkness or we can also build a wall around us both physically as well as psycologically to live in our utopian religious and pure land !! Hope one day we do not endup deciding to give up use of all advanced technology to save our insecure beliefs.

guru Jun 11, 2013 01:21pm

Google should consider the rule of law for all.

Tahir Alam Jun 11, 2013 01:59pm

If all the Muslims of the world had stopped using Facebook and YouTube after their denial to remove blasphemous material, things could have come under control on the Internet. Civil boycott is always a better and 'civil' way to protest. But, unfortunately and shamelessly, most of the Muslims, despite availability of other options, preferred the addictive Facebook over their dignity. Blocking/ boycotting YouTube or Facebook, after their denial to show respect to millions of people of the World, is the last option open for the people. Also note that stop using these websites is not end of everything on the Internet. There are other options available. "Where there is a will, there is a way"

Khurram Jun 11, 2013 02:35pm

Let's ban internet. Solves all problems. Anyway we have hardly grown after stone age.

molvisaab Jun 11, 2013 02:58pm

@Ayesha Khan: Freedom is speech is essential, otherwise why would you expect me, or for that matter our government to care about what you/me/ or any other individual would have to say. Plus the blasphemy law is outdated and used against minorities, it does not serve the general public any good. You do not solve any problems by banishing them away and pretending they do not exist, comprehend the issue and find a solution to it.

Lucas Jun 11, 2013 04:42pm


The problem is that nowadays a country with no internet access is a country isolated of the world. And nobody can survive alone. And I never get this impositions made because of should defend itself! If a person really believes in Islam, nobody or nothing will influence him otherwise....

FAHD ABBASY Jun 11, 2013 04:43pm

GOOGLE & all search engines must crawl web and block /. blacklist all such content .

pls stop provoking muslims...

when was the last time muslims disrespected any non muslim religious figures?

muzammil ullah khan Jun 11, 2013 04:49pm

@mukhtar: Dont we have enough Islam already . We have decided that DNA is not accurate enough to be used as evidence even though it is accepted as 100% accurate in all technically advanced countries . We want to eliminate science ! We want to eliminate learning ! We want more Islam !! What is meant by more Islam . I fail to understand why we are being so amazingly naive and ignorant of the realities of today . I recommend that we practice Islam to the best of our knowledge and move on to catch up with the world . If we dont do that we will go back to the stone ages. We should be thankful to the West for giving us modern amenities like electricity , loud speakers that the mullahs use so freely , buses , trains , airplanes , telephone , fans , air conditioners , fridges and million other little things which make our life more comfortable !

muzammil ullah khan Jun 11, 2013 04:58pm

@faisal: He is no defender of faith . If he were the defender of the faith then he would not hide his corrupt son from being prosecuted . Amazingly our innocent CJP did not notice the royal style of his son even though they lived in the same house . The CJP knew all along that his son was a crook and his wealth amassed in just 2 years was completely ill gotten . The CJP is equally guilty as his son and has no business to give us sermons on honesty etc . It would be good if he just shuts up and do his job which he is definitely not doing . He craves to hit the head lines which massages his ego and that's what he is busy doing . History will have a befitting verdict on this man as a FAKE.

Salim Akbani Jun 11, 2013 05:12pm

@Masoud: When have they been awake on anything???' They are as worthless as one paisa coin.

jagan verma Jun 11, 2013 05:13pm

Forget about Internet , Pakistan government even censored pak media every single time. People should remember , God created humans , humans created religions.

I saw so many people came out on streets for the demonstration against the blasphemous video on youtube. Why don't the same people come out everyday against poverty,girl education,talibans who kill innocents people everyday.

You guys shout when 4-5 people get kills in drone strike , but taliban bombings in pakistan have killed 40000 innocents last year and many more this year. I am not saying that drone strike by US are justified , but atleast set your priority in an order.

Salim Akbani Jun 11, 2013 05:17pm

The biggest threat to Islam and Muslims are ignorance, illiteracy and terrorism.

People have always made fun of religions and made inflammatory statements. Good religions and their followers survive and thrive by their deeds. Not hiding behind archaic laws. Stop being so sensitive and start working on being a good Muslim. Otherwise all the censorship in the world will not save Islam.

salim assaudin Jun 11, 2013 05:49pm

Blashphemy is for mullahs, not for the intelligent people of Pakistan. All right-thinking people must protest bans of flimsy nature.

waseem Jun 11, 2013 06:09pm

@Ahmed: and same CJ threw out Dr Qadri's petition for him being a Candian citizen......UK is better than Canda for some reasons :)

Ali Akbar Jun 11, 2013 06:38pm

@Ayesha Khan: Prudence should have been better here than prejudice!!! Why are the innocent Pakistanis being penalized in the name of blasphemy laws.. Where else is youtube blocked? Please name if Saudi Arabia, the home of the Prophet (PBUH) has blocked this site.

John Jun 11, 2013 07:43pm

@Wajeeh: And travel on Camel back with PIA and railway fading away. I don't think the postal service will last long and we will use pigeons to send letters. The Ammer ul Momineen is now on throne, lets wait for his edicts.

John Jun 11, 2013 07:47pm

@Imran: Give us back old Pakistan. We don't want new or newer Pakistan. We want to be back in the days when we never locked our main door, The streets were safe, and people of Pakistan friendly and hospitable. Can CJ bring that Pakistan back, if not then he can keep talking big and keep taking useless suo motos.

Bob Jun 11, 2013 07:55pm

Lets follow the teaching of Prophet Muhammad Peace be upon him....... & think how He would have reacted to blasphemous actions by others. We have plenty of examples....... we are reacting exactly the way folks posting the blasphemous contents want us to react.... do not play in their hands...... think before reacting

mian Jun 11, 2013 08:01pm

When Pakistanis will grow up and be mature enough to understand that God or Allah or God's religion Islam does not need Pakistani's to defend them. If Allah is true and Islam is true religion of God, then no one can harm either one. How long they will keep becoming a laughing stock of the World?

Common Sence Jun 11, 2013 08:45pm

All the defenders of Prophet and Islam just try to study the life of the Prophet and Islam (In addition also try to understand what it means) before all the guardians of Islam go nut and destroy property of others and Islam itself. Remember 100 time more insults (Physical & Verbal) were brought on Prophets life during the 23 years of preaching he did in Makah, Medina or other areas. Not a single time he instructed or thought of revenge or negative thought against those people. Always the message was of forgiveness and kindness toward those people. That is what converted & attracted most of them towards Islam, not the ignorance intolerance and barbaric behavior as Muslims we have today. No wonder everyone hates us I don't disagree with them. So today before you pass death sentence against all those who make a comment that you don't agree with, think about one thing before you go that route, what Prophet would have done or had done in this situation and I will guarantee you your reaction/answer will change.

Problem today with Muslims (Ignorant, Self-righteous Mullahs and their equally lazy &illiterate followers) is they pretend to know Islam more than the Prophet and God and Interpreting things in their favor stating it as God and Prophet really meant how they are interpreting, creating the intolerant Islam that never meant to be

Before you all go on the rampage of destroying what is left of Islam and create a nation of intolerant blind and Dum

abc Jun 11, 2013 08:48pm

@Unknown: there is nothing to hide.we are Muslims,not terrorist

abc Jun 11, 2013 08:50pm

@jdshami: to abuse some other religion is call freedom of speech

Bint-e-hawa Jun 11, 2013 10:53pm

@Ibrahim: Mr. Malik already has mentioned it in his application that blocking such websites is not a solution, kindly b well aware of the news before giving ur personal view, he has appealed just to remove blasphemous material on social media n to arise this matter at international platform. let me provide u some links u may c this page on fb, twitter n other SM continuously disrespecting prophet P.B.U.H n Islam, this is not the freedom of speech but freedom to prevail sickness like a virus infecting body n it must b stopped, it is unbearable for every true Muslim around the world, we should b thankful to Mr.Malik at least someone has the guts to call spade a spade.

Saleem Sinai Jun 11, 2013 11:40pm

@mukhtar: in the prophet's time there was no internet, no tv, no radio, no refigeration, no microwaves, no cell phones, no computers, no cars,no carbonated drinks, no airconditioning, open heart surgeries, no electricity, no sewarge system no guns, and the list goes on. ban all of it!!!!

gp65 Jun 12, 2013 01:08am

@Akil Akhtar: Factually incorrect. Any number of holocast denial videos are available on youtube. And there are any number of openly gay comedians and anchors not just on youtube but prime time TV. You have no idea what you are talking about.

gp65 Jun 12, 2013 01:08am

@Akil Akhtar: Factually incorrect. Any number of holocast denial videos are available on youtube. And there are any number of openly gay comedians and anchors not just on youtube but prime time TV. You have no idea what you are talking about.

gp65 Jun 12, 2013 01:14am

@mukhtar: There was no electricity in that time also. SO why do you complain when there is load shedding if you are satisfied with living just as people lived in the 7th century?

Rafi Jun 12, 2013 08:53am

Banning websites is not the solution.

Why doesnt the government of Pakistan hire professional hackers who just keep messing with those enteries?

This might force the admin of the website to stop publishing such content so that their websites are able to function properly.

gp65 Jun 12, 2013 11:07am

@FAHD ABBASY: Muslims had a history of destroying temples and then humiliating Hindus by building mosques on those very sites. You may say that was a long time back - true. But by considering such people as your heroes, are you not endorsing their actions even today?

nooffence7 Jun 13, 2013 01:40am

Do not stop the expression, if your God stands logic, understandable to the common-man, it will be accepted. But if it does not stand the natural logics, it will vanish automatically. I request the Pakistan Authorities not to tame the people like you tame animals. Let the people make their conscientious judgement on that. Truth does not need to be protected/hidden/barred. I request Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to search your soul and repeal the blasphemy law. The whole humanity will be grateful to you forever.

nooffence7 Jun 13, 2013 01:45am

@Bint-e-hawa: Do not promote to tame the people like you tame animals. Let the people understand the religious figures independently. If the religious contents stand the natural logic, no one can harm it. But if it is a bunch of lies, it must vanish. Let the turth prevail, do not block it by taming the gullible.

Jason Jun 13, 2013 03:05am

@gp65: You are saying as if hindus didnt do anything !!!

Jason Jun 13, 2013 03:10am

@John: Dude CJ has never been honest with the nation !!! HIs own son and the 3 sons of the xx PM , roam free where as they should have been hanged,

Jason Jun 13, 2013 03:10am

@Fauzi Mahmood: Yes your right china has made their own youtube , they do not need the western youtube, its time for us to make our own things and boost our IT sector.

Jason Jun 13, 2013 03:12am

@Ali Akbar: Its Blocked in CHINA .

shaukat Jun 13, 2013 03:39am

@jdshami: Then you should go back to Pakistan particularly Karachi!!

tejay Jun 13, 2013 08:09am

Who cares . Just ignore it. There will always be some nutcase wanting to cause problems. Sometimes ignorance is a bliss.

illawarrior Jun 13, 2013 09:28am

Devout Muslims believe that everything that happens is the will of Allah. So think about it .... this means that Allah must want the internet and YouTube, else he would not allow them to exist!