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In a first for protests, religious organisation slams website ban

Published Jul 17, 2012 02:38pm

A man tries to access social networking website Twitter in Pakistan. Twitter was banned by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority last month. Recently, a Shia watchdog website came under a similar ban and members of a Shia religious organisation protested the ban in Karachi. - File photo by AFP
A man tries to access social networking website Twitter in Pakistan. Twitter was banned by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority last month. Recently, a Shia watchdog website came under a similar ban and members of a Shia religious organisation protested the ban in Karachi. - File photo by AFP

KARACHI: In what was possibly the first protest of its kind, a religious organisation was met with aerial firing by the police in Karachi, when they gathered to demonstrate against the shutdown of a Shia watchdog website.

The Shia Action Committee was protesting the alleged ban of the website www.shiakilling.com, when they were stopped at downtown Karachi’s Numaish Chowrangi, DawnNews reported on Tuesday.

The protestors, who were reportedly in hundreds, set off from Shah-i-Khurasan area (Jamshed Town), chanting anti-government slogans on their way. When they reached Numaish Chowrangi, police tried to stop them, which led to an altercation between both parties. Police officials then resort to aerial firing. While the crowd dispersed to the nearby alleyways, some still managed to move past Numaish and continued with their agitation.

A website, which monitors and maintains a “death count” of Pakistani Shia Muslims targeted in sectarian violence, has been banned by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, which operates on the directives of the Ministry of Information. Upon attempting to access the website, users are met with a “Access denied” message, a usual occurrence for banned websites.

Pakistan has previously banned social networking websites including Facebook and Twitter for carrying content considered disrespectful towards Islam and the Holy Prophet (PBUH).