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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.

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