Pak govt told to block Facebook till May 31

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A Pakistani court on Wednesday directed authorities to temporarily block Facebook till May 31 over the holding of a competition on blasphemous caricatures of Prophet Mohammed as protests against the social networking website were held across the country.
Justice Ijaz Chaudhry of the Lahore high court issued the order to block Facebook while acting on a petition filed by the Islamic Lawyers Forum, which sought a complete ban on the website.
The court directed the foreign ministry to raise the issue of the blasphemous caricatures at the international level. The judge also directed the foreign secretary to register a protest with the concerned countries. He also sought a response on the issue from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. Following protests in several parts of Pakistan against the posting of the caricatures on Facebook and a competition on the blasphemous cartoons that will continue till May 20, several Internet Service Providers restricted access to the website. Protests against the caricatures were organised by religious parties like the Jamaat-e-Islami, Islami Jamiat Tulba and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam in Lahore, Kasur, Narowal, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi and Peshawar on Tuesday.
“An American organisation which has some 35,000 members is responsible for posting the caricatures of Prophet Mohammed on Facebook and for holding the competition on blasphemous caricatures,” said Mohammed Azeem, a student of Punjab University in Lahore. In 2005, Lahore and other Pakistani cities had witnessed violent protests when blasphemous caricatures of Prophet Mohammed were first published in Europe. Several business outlets of multinational companies were torched during these protests.
People across Pakistan also received an SMS message on their cell phones that read: “Not to use Facebook on May 18, 19 and 20 so that Facebook faces big loss, so that they never dare to celebrate draw Mohammed (peace be upon him) Day”.

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