The hypocrisy of the PTA.

While much has been written about the decision of the Lahore High Court to ban Facebook, and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority’s subsequent move to block YouTube, Flickr, Wikipedia and other websites, I have a few questions for the PTA:

1. Why can’t the PTA block specific URLs? They certainly were quick enough in removing the videos of President Zardari saying shut up and the video of a Pakistani Army representative beating a man mercilessly in Swat. Can’t they simply block every URL that leads to a video that features the cartoons?

2. Cartoons. Yes, they’re apparently a big threat to Muslims. I’m assuming that’s the rationale here that PTA is working on. So tell me, are cartoons a bigger threat than the video of Masood Azhar exhorting Muslims to go for jihad? Or the dozens of other videos on YouTube that feature members of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan inciting viewers to wage war against the Pakistan Army, which, if I’m not mistaken, amounts to treason?

3. And the fine folks at the PTA must answer this: they couldn’t block Maulana Fazlullah’s radio channel, but it took them less than an hour to block every website that they could think of. Is that how capable you are? Wah PTA. Your incompetence takes my breath away.

I just called up the PTA helpline at 0800-55055. After asking the representative why they couldn’t block specific URLs, his explanation was that the videos were being uploaded on YouTube from outside Pakistan in large numbers. When asked why they were so quick to block dozens of videos of Zardari saying shut up, he had no answer. Also, when I did ask him about Maulana Fazlullah’s radio station not being blocked by PTA, he asked me not to confuse the issue. And hung up on me. No PTA, this is not about confusing issues: this is you being an incompetent organization that is stuck on the miniscule picture here and imposing blanket censorship that reeks of Zia’s era. Shabash.

50 comments
  1. good stuff!

  2. mrkool said:

    Bullseye

  3. owaisafridi said:

    spot on!

  4. Kalsoom said:

    Yeah, PTA! What ABOUT the radio stations or jihadi websites?!

  5. sarangqazi said:

    Excellent.. The phonecall incident was great. Maybe we can all call now and then to bug them..

  6. Sadaf said:

    Yes the double faced standards of PTA,,, Did they block Salman Rushdies Satantic Verses? I can show thousands of links and forums to them who post un-Islamic content,, just fake standards and fooling people in the name of religion.

    • Nameless said:

      @Saddaf: You are looking at it in a negative way. Facebook is right now the hot issue and banning it created a lot of fuss in the international media.

      Facebook took notice after the banning of Facebook in Pakistan and BBC has recently released the news how Facebook fased a loss of 2 Billion due to Pakistanis in the past 2 days.

      If we cant show the world we care abt our Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) at this hour when the issue is really hot then its better to die.

      our writers are really stupid because they are effected by THE ENLIGHTENED MODERATION.

      USA people boycotted Facebook when Privacy settings were changed and LOL you are getting mad at PTA for banning facebook for a couple of days because Jews are abusing Hazrat Mohammad (S.A.W) damn girl think abt it.

    • Safi Ullah Marwat said:

      infact it is true… :) “A common sense is a sense which is not common”
      if you think PTA did wrong for banning the sites (blasphemous site) and ur stance is that “why not PTA ban other filthy sites” :)
      uhmmmm… dear if PTA did one good deed, then according to the civilization, of which you are fan, is to give credit to him. So we should give credit to PTA for this good deed. and expect for furhter such nice decisions…

  7. Safi Ullah Marwat said:

    Madam!! I am sorry on your Lame thoughts.. if it is stone age to ban face book or youtube, then why hundrads of our Pakistani Universities have banned it for years ago????????????????????????????????
    government have just banned it yesterday, but Universities have banned it years ago. so you should raise this point at that time. your writing depicts your affiliation with a crystal clear cause. but at least we can not allow you to show fabricated fundations of Pakistan….
    I also want to tell those who consider the step towards caves, do you think facebook is the technology must be adopted by each human being???? i think world was more safer before facebook birth..
    Also it is worth note that FaceBook is no momre neutral, they know well about various activities on thier site. so i would like to say it FakeBook instead… :P
    plz mind the CURRENT situation…

  8. Omar said:

    you’re indeed confusing the whole issue. For heaven’s sake – the blasphemous sketches are those of our PROPHET P.B.U.H and this has emotional religious attachment. THe guy over @ PTA is correct. You’re confusing the whole issue.

  9. Safi Ullah Marwat said:

    if our decision makers were too hypocrite (According to you) then y they r not banning full wikipedia site? only few of links are restricted. it menas they are just filtering out. so plz be calm down, we Pakistani Students are happy on this Historic decision. i for the first time feel proud of any deed, we first time decided as a NATION… we re NATION, and insha ALLAH will be NATION.

  10. Omar said:

    The whole world knows the reason of the sites blocked in Pakistan, only Pakistanis and self acclaimed journalists and writers themselves are forgetting it…

    LAME LAME POST.

  11. Salman said:

    Maulana Masood Azhar is the hero of Pakistan and the muslim of Pakistan …

    only hypocrite can say a word against Maulana Masood Azhar

    he is a great mujahid!

    Pakistan Zindadad
    Islam Zindabad
    Maulana Masood Azhar Zindabad!!

  12. Salman said:

    PTA should also block the bloggers like Huma Imtiaz …bcoz they are traitors of Islam and Pakistan …and yes there is the hypocricy shown PTA by not blocking Huma Imtiaz type people!!

    keep it up Huma Imtiaz!!

  13. Omar said:

    I wonder what’s HUMA thinking now :P though i’m a follower of HUMA’s postings. But to be quite frank – This post is quite UN-HUMA.

    CHILL EVERYONE. We’ve caused good outage to the FACEBOOK especially to their ad revenue. We’ve successfully dented their earnings. Let’s be non-political here and solely on this religious cause. We as a nation are outraged with the blasphemous drawings. PAKISTAN ZINDABAD…

  14. Nameless said:

    Huma why dont you stop using Internet and cellphone to show PTA you are mad? You cant do that dont you?

    Its just shameful that you put Zardari and Hazrat Mohammad (S.A.W) issue on the same plate.

    Enlightened Moderation Zindabad.

  15. Shuck You said:

    Huma Imtiaz is not even a Muslim guys :) she is friends with Atheists.

  16. Omar said:

    Oh cmon everyone – let’s not draw conclusions on someone’s personality. I think she’s just an excited blogger and posted on the issue NOT expecting so much following :) Let’s not conclude who’s a muslim and who’s not as most of our deeds are un-islamic – May Allah Help us all. We all will be fine.

    But one thing for sure – the PTA and this so called democratic govt. has for the first time made us proud.

    • Nameless said:

      How can an Atheist understand the importance of Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.W) :)

      Lets not get into who is a Muslim and who is not.

      But this Article is funny and i cant stop laughing. I bet Huma can not stop using Internet in protest. Call PTA and tell them you are in protest and wont use your Cellphone and Internet as long as you are alive.

  17. Safi Ullah Marwat said:

    i am wonder, what a dual criterion they are using for Pakistan… why they are not talk about china,,, are chines in stone ages??? they have also banned face book, so called fakebook :)
    saudi arabia have also banned and i think UAE have done too.

    • Nameless said:

      Pakistan banning Facebook is all over the world now. BBC, CNN, FOX NEWS everyone is talking about Religious Rights and people in Pakistan are crying over the ban.

      This was the time to show the world that Muslims are still united and we cannot stand anyone abusing our Holy Prophet (S.A.W) but SOME people are just plain idiots.

    • a-hem said:

      Nope, the UAE has blocked that specific facebook page, but Facebook itself is not blocked.

  18. Omar said:

    Pakistanis can’t use Facebook until May 30th! Excellent opportunity for Hindusthan to block water to all Pak farms on Farmville.

    This might also be a one of the concerns for HUMA.

  19. Tim said:

    Seems to me its all politically motivated. The people in power seem to want to keep the people ignorant, uneducated and poor. It must in their own interests. That way they have a steady stream of young recruits for more pointless militant missions in Afghanistan or India.

  20. Rashid said:

    you guys are really in stone ages. Freedom of speech is not welcomed in Pakistan. Because we think the all other people in this world enemies of Islam and us. Please, stop this foolish thinking. Why you guys using internet? this is all happening on Internet, So you guys would ban Internet?

  21. patuh said:

    just relax yourselves.
    if one person has posted something that you feel attacks the PTA, that does not mean six people should gang up against it and go on and on, non stop.
    everyone has a right to their own opinion.
    youve expressed yours once.
    now shut up.

    • Taha said:

      Everyone, the writer and the ever so enthusiastic commentators have legitimate points. Just like you can’t call a black man negro; else they will call you a racist, or you can’t poke fun at jews, else its antisemitism, or you can’t subdue women, else you are being a sexist, or you don’t attack your country because thats treason, or you don’t attack a religious sect because its hate speech, likewise: you don’t make fun of the Prophet(PBUH)as a movement. Its a global movement to unite the world for a hate crime..thats not acceptable.

      However, shabash to the writer for being courageous and taking the initiative to call PTA, and confronting them on their lack of censorship on other issues or selected censorship.

  22. I don’t know if the comments above deserve to be responded. I don’t like name-calling, but what sensible person relates banning facebook at workplace (perhaps to increase productivity) to state sponsored blanket censorship of a medium. The important thing is that PTA shouldn’t be the decision maker of what we can see or what can’t. We will not go and check out the offensive material because we, ourselves, will not want to. By banning Facebook, will it really solve the problem! WTF is wrong with you people! (I have never lost it in any comment section, and I will try to refrain from that)

    And to the responder who said Facebook said that it loss (Rs? or $?) 2 billion in 2 days because of Pakistan, please provide evidence of that. I will shut up.

    And blaming Jews for this? YOU ARE ALSO RESPONSIBLE OF HATE SPEECH! Don’t be a hypocrite!

    To the said responders: The important thing is not what to censored, what not to be censored. The question is how much of a precedent you want to make this. The next chairman would come in and, on a whim, ban all the beloved Zakir Naik videos! How will you respond to that?

    Let there be no ban, and let us decide these things on our own!

    • Nameless said:

      We cant stop using facebook for a week or so? Is it more important than Hazrat Mohammad (S.A.W)? Yes you are very sensible. Even if its a stupid decision but the world is talking about it and asking people not to fire at someones religion. But here in Pakistan we are fucking around and crying and trying to be “Oh i am so educated, Oh freedom of speech, Oh let us decide what we want” just for a fucking website. Get a life.

      It seems like Facebook is so important that we cant stop using it for a week just to show the world we still care about our Prophet (S.A.W).

      You cannot stop people from abusing Islam but we just showed the world that we still care abt Islam and that was the main purpose of banning facebook.

      Enlightened Moderation has really fucked our minds. have a fucking nice life.

      • Bhai, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t boycott it! Boycott it if you want to. And frankly, if everybody does it, on their on volition and on their own free will, that campaign will be more effective. Banning Facebook, and limiting access to such portals to ones own population does not serve that purpose. You need a rational approach to counter the idiotic actions, by misguided individuals, rather than censorship.

        Because this was the response the people responsible would be reveling in. And those people are not the admins of Facebook. But was it a logical thing to do? It is like if you don’t like someone in a wedding ceremony, you go in the corner and cover your eyes. And hope the wedding misses you, and the person you don’t like would just go away. As idiotic as it sounds, its pretty much analogous to whats happening.

        As I am saying that, this particular issue can be dealt more effective ways than covering your eyes and hope the problem goes away.

        And the main point of mine was, IT IS NOT BANNING OF FACEBOOK THAT PERTURBS ME, IT IS THE RANDOM AUTHORITATIVE ACTION. Personally, I rarely use Facebook, and I have gone weeks without using it. But it provides a precedent. The authorities can ban anything for any reason. Its not the facebook, they have banned youtube and apparently google as well (i might be wrong on the google bit). The question remains that what happens in the future, when anyone can ban anything for any reason.

        Ofcourse, it is a divisive issue, and we must look at the bigger picture than just saying that fuck-that-facebook. It is the same freedom of speech that you are using right now to defend a certain point of view. We disagree, but we can say what we want to say.

  23. Finally someone made sense in a rational-emotional-satirical way.

  24. Ali said:

    Good post Huma.

  25. Omer Khan said:

    Wow… I am simply amazed at some of the comments posted here….
    If you guys really think that Islam or our Prophet is threatened by some looney somewhere drawing cartoons, I must say you may want to revise your believes.
    Most people including me did not even know about the existance of that page before the numbnuts at PTA decided to block it and create such a hoopla, before you know it was the most popular page, the best word to describe that is counter-productive….
    Besides there is a lot of crap out there on the Internet that may offend some people including all those jihadi gaylords selling 72 virgins to idiots, you don’t like something, don’t visit the URL or disconnect your Internet…
    And my last question, what would Mohammad SAW do in this situation????
    Great post Huma….
    PTA sucks

  26. Clearly we have emotional thinkers, logical thinkers, rational thinkers, and maybe some balanced thinkers.
    But I guess the emotional ones outnumber the rest.
    (Comparison of this ban to the one in universities was quite absurd though.)

    • May I say, without the fear of severe character assassination of mine, hallelujah!

  27. OS said:

    A factual error aside, Huma’s post was quite good. But I am completely dumbfounded by the comments from people. Lets get the factual error out of the way first. PTA is merely implementing the decision by the loonies who sit on the country’s judiciary. So blame away, but direct the blame to the judges who ordered this ridiculous complete shutdown of facebook.

    I am not a facebook/youtube user and do not in the least care whether these are available. But the absurdity of this situation does bother me. Banning access to this material legitimises the very ideas the ban is supposed to be against. The actual disprepect to the Prophet (PBUH) is the insecurity about his stature that is demonstatrted by actions like these.

    Surely people who are offended by the material have the option of not looking at it. Its not as if it is being broadcast on prime time television and the poor hapless Pakistanis have no way of escaping it. People who view it CHOOSE to view it. Here’s news for that judge: the ban did not make the material go away, its still there but you’ve pushed the nations head in the sand.

    The ban will achieve what? Nameless posts here this will lose facebook $2 billion (!!!) in advertising revenue. Too many people like these have a misplaced sense of importance of Pakistan. But it does successfully reinforce the reputation of us Pakistanis of being an intolerant bunch.

  28. Rabia said:

    Huma, as always I think your comments are spot on.

    To your commentators, I have to say I am quite upset at the zeal with which you are willing to attack people who offer a different and opposing ; sadly this is the image we have created for ourselves in the eyes of the west, only we are to blame for this. Do not be so quick to label someone an atheist, at the end of the day only Allah has the right to decide who is a true believer and who isn’t.

    Whether we agree to the ban or not, we need to realise there are better ways of handling such complicated situations. We have a tendency to over-react and hence people have come to wrongly recognise Muslim as hostiles, although Islam advocates tolerance & peace so much. Just because someone is doing something wrong, why can’t we for once rise above it all and take the higher moral ground!!

  29. Moazzam said:

    worth reading it a nyc post… btw i have some similar question wch PTA liable to ans
    Y dont they block porn sites?????????

  30. Nameless said:

    I am amused to read all the BS being posted against the action taken by PTA but not even a single EDUCATED and SUPER HUMAN has posted ways of dealing with the situation.

    There was no other effective way of dealing except banning Facebook, Molly Norris website, etc etc for a short period of time.

  31. Amar said:

    “So tell me, are cartoons a bigger threat than the video of Masood Azhar exhorting Muslims to go for jihad?”

    Yep!

    And Jihad had never been a threat. You happily enjoy the Jihad promoted by Hollywood flicks like Gladiators and other who praise former Roman Empire.

    Come out of delusion kid. you are still a whiny like you were on Karachi Metroblog in past

    • Nameless said:

      SPOT ON!!!!

      Angrez kuch kere woh sahi hai Pakistani kuch kere EXTREMISM and STUPID.

      To all the EDUCATED and SUPER HUMANS people here

      http://blog.dawn.com/2010/05/21/diary-of-a-closet-facebooker/

      this is what you call A BLOG POST. What Huma posted is childish and she has been a whiny delusion girl all her life.

    • Omar said:

      Spot On!

  32. Omar said:

    To all the idiots supporting this post, please look at http://www.pcworld.com/article/164765/facebook_boots_holocaust_denial_groups.html to see:

    1. Facebook, in May 12 2009, removed two Holocaust denial groups claiming they violated Facebook’s Terms of Service by promoting hate.

    2. According to Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities users may not “post content that is hateful, threatening, pornographic, or that contains nudity or gratuitous violence.”

    3. Please visit here to check that Facebook CONFIRMED removal of two Holocaust denial groups and disabled them based on their STATEMENT OF RIGHS AND RESPONSIBiLITIES and prone to promoting HATE.

    Now check the contemporary issue and the take from Facebook:

    Visit Here what facebook has to say about it: “We are very disappointed with the Pakistani courts’ decision to block Facebook without warning, and suspect our users there feel the same way,” Facebook said in a statement to French news agency. “We are analyzing the situation and the legal considerations, and will take appropriate action, which may include making this content inaccessible to users in Pakistan,” it said.

    So where’s the terms and conditions applied by Facebook? Promoting Hate? Threats? Disrespect? Are we still there to support Facebook?

  33. Anonymous said:

    It is responsibility of every Muslim to react in every “sane” way possible to counter “Dram Muhammad Day”. It does not mean that one goes out and gives threats to site owners or something.

    You certainly can’t question the ban as it was the right thing to do. What the government should have done is that they should have contacted different site owners such as youtube, facebook etc. and asked them to remove objectionable content or otherwise their sites would not be unblocked. Facebook certainly should have negotiated as everybody knows they are missing out on huge amount of cash because of this ban. Negotiating this way would have helped Pakistan’s image as most of the foreign media are making fun of it and saying that this ban will last only for a few days. The bottom line is blockage + diplomatic negotiations would have been the best thing to do.

    Back to your article, by writing this article it seems as if you are comparing two personalities: Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Mr. Zardari. I am not at all supporting Zardari but he is not that influential a personality that you would block the a mega site because of him. When it comes to our Prophet (PBUH), there are sentiments involved and there has to be resistance and not only resistance but tough resistance. Therefore, blocking the whole sites means that you are giving them a financial blow which can and should be used to bring the site owners to the negotiating table.

    We should suggest improvements rather than criticizing and jumping to conclusions.

    So guys, I request to everyone, please DO NOT QUESTION THE BAN. It was the right thing to do.

    Regards,
    Anonymous

    • Nameless said:

      DITTO. Fully Agreed. Only an Insane person would compare Zardari with Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H).

      I now believe the person who said Huma is not a Muslim because a Muslim would never say such a thing.

      Yes i said it because its the “FREEDOM OF SPEECH”.

      • @Nameless

        You have the full right to disagree with anyone you want but at least do not write off others as not being Muslims. It is a sin so you should avoid it.

  34. Nameless said:

    I have the right to call anyone anything i want to because that’s the “Freedom of Speech”.

    Where were you when Huma Imtiaz compared Zardari with Hazrat Mohammad (S.A.W) you didnt say anything. Isnt that a SIN?

    FYI an ATHEIST is not a Muslim.

    • Dear Nameless

      I have so far resisted from commenting, but I’d like you to point out where exactly I compared Zardari to the Prophet. If you could read properly, which I sincerely now have doubts on, you’d realise that I was asking PTA why they couldnt block specific links to videos, which they’ve done before in the two examples I’d cited above. Nowhere, have I compared the two which you’ve accused me of.

      And to sum it up, name calling is the worst form of argument. Religion, for me at least, is a very personal subject, and I refuse to discuss my religious beliefs on my blog, which frankly speaking, are none of your goddamn business, and have nothing to do with this post, which is about the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. Maybe you can ponder about my religious beliefs in your own spare time, but I refuse to allow my personal life to become a matter of discussion on a post that has nothing to do with the subject.

      And while I hate to do this, I’m now closing comments on this post, since this has now turned into a forum for personal attacks. Everyone is free to disagree or agree with the subject of the blog post and share their viewpoint, but personal attacks is something I will not tolerate. Please take your arguments somewhere else.

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