The Internet Crisis: PTA's underhanded attempts to broaden censorship


#1

Link: https://boxcrack.net/topic/Pakistan%27s%20Internet%20Crisis

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The government of Pakistan is moving swiftly through the High Court to shut down a substantial spectrum of Internet activity and communication. A confidential draft of new censorship provisions shows that the government is planning to increase its already powerful grip over freedom of expression.

On May 31st a High Court judge, Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry, ordered the government to take action in respect to alleged blasphemy on Facebook. On June 11th in consequence of this order, the Deputy Attorney General authorised and initiated the first stage of investigation and prosecution of Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook. The Deputy Attorney General on June 11th lodged with police a "First Information Report (FIR)" against "the owner of Facebook".

An FIR is the document that Police register when a case is lodged against anyone. This document then becomes the prime source of evidence and on the basis the legal case will move.

The FIR – number 614/2010 - was lodged at Civil Lines Police Station Lahore under section "295-C" of the Pakistan Penal Code, which reads "Use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet. Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine."

The actual FIR details the charge "in respect of an offense under Section 295-C Pakistan Penal Code and punishment under this offense is death penalty or rigorous life imprisonment"

The next hearing is scheduled for 12th July 2010.

This order by the High Court to the government essentially means that a prima facie case has already been made against Facebook's founder, clearing the way for a charge and prosecution to follow. It is highly likely that this prosecution will be initiated in time for the 12th July hearing. At that point arrest papers may be issued and Zuckerberg will become a wanted felon.

These actions have arisen from a writ petition filed in the Lahore High Court on 19th May (W.P. NO.11559/2010 ----Titled Mohammad Azhar Siddique vs Government of Pakistan. In this Writ the Petitioner Azhar Siddique, a lawyer, blamed the government of Pakistan for failing to register an FIR against Facebook for not removing the blasphemous page even after thousands of complaints.

The High Court on May 31st temporarily lifted the national ban on Facebook but ordered the Deputy Attorney General to take further legal action. The FIR against Zuckerberg appears to be the path chosen to comply with the court order.

The Pakistan action is not a precedent. Earlier this year three Google executives were convicted because of violation of Italian law relating to material posted on YouTube.

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Link to policy document: https://boxcrack.net/boxcrack/assets/docs/Pakistan.pdf

This is getting ridiculous. The government and its ever present cronies are yet again trying to curb the freedoms associated with the usage of internet in Pakistan. There is little doubt that such an instrument of policy will be misused by or Mr. 50% president and his lackey thugs. If iplemented, this will have far reaching consequences for the country as a whole.

As an internet user of Pakistan whose livelihood may or may not depend on the provision of unrestricted internet access in Pakistan, what is your opinion or comment on this?


#2

I just posted this in the previous thread, hadn't noticed this topic.

Check out MillatFacebook (founded by Petitioner Azhar Siddique). It's been shut down by their hosting service and they blame it on pressure from Facebook, though they were probably banned for the use of the illegal script. Now the site is just filled with Anti-FB propaganda.


#3

If this crisis continued than what would be the future of Wired Pakistan? Majority of its members are against the policies of current government.


#4

[quote=", post:, topic:"]

The government of Pakistan is moving swiftly through the High Court to shut down a substantial spectrum of Internet activity and communication. A confidential draft of new censorship provisions shows that the government is planning to increase its already powerful grip over freedom of expression.
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what the heck this government is doing yaaar… they can’t impose such restrictions on us. we should join together and strike against it. Not a single government in the world limits its public to not express their words openly.


#5

Relax folk, nothing is gonna happen, the tide is on our sidd. The govt actions are playing for the gallery, nothing can reverse the trend.


#6

Government has ban opera mini and snaptu


#7

operamini is not blocked completely.


#8

I am not sure how HC can order to register a case in an alleged crime which was not committed in Pakistan. It has no jurisdiction over other counrtries. They can order a ban bu not a case against any site owned and operated from outside Pakistan. This is just non-sense. There are many instances where courts didn't allow to register a case or prosecute anyone for crimes committe outside Pakistan.

Pakistan has everything but freedom. Freedom is a priviledge which only few people enjoy.


#9

[quote=", post:, topic:"]

what the heck this government is doing yaaar… they can’t impose such restrictions on us. we should join together and strike against it. Not a single government in the world limits its public to not express their words openly.

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Probably you have never heard of China, Iran and alike. Pakistan is still a heaven in comparison to these countries