Blogs > Cliopatria > Block the Offensive Internets

Mar 3, 2006 10:35 am

Block the Offensive Internets

News report states that the Supreme Court has ruled that all websites which display the Danish cartoons should be blocked in Pakistan. The Supreme Court observed that this is a matter for the entire Muslim world and no technical limitations will be accepted as an excuse. I will try to find more sources and update this.

In the first salvo, Blogspot is blocked in Pakistan.

Reminds me of the decisions to ban Salman Rushdie and the secret trade in Satanic Verses [smuggling it in with a War & Peace cover was my favorite].
[original Urdu report out of Daily Jang, Pakistan's leading Urdu newspaper]

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Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

Thanks for the info. The question that it raises for me is: what is the position of the so-called "Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy" on this decision? From all appearances, it seems they'd applaud it:

If the ARD is in favor of a conception of "democracy" consistent with censorship, it's hard to see that they offer anything in the way of a viable alternative to Musharraf and hard to take them seriously when they claim to. At bottom, all the empty talk about a "return to the 1973 constitution," to "democracy," and "the rule of law" is just that--empty talk.

Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

I do remember MRD. One of my cousins was a prominent leader in it--Khawaja Saad Rafiq, now Punjab General Secretary for the PML-N, and in prison (see the article).

It seemed so exciting and promising back then in the MRD days. But maybe it only seemed that way because I was 15 years old.

OK, enough; I'm getting depressed. Maybe the trouble with all of these acronyms is the "R"--"restoration." To describe the task as "restoration" is to go wrong at the first step.

Francis Turner - 3/6/2006

My Muhammed cartoon page ( ) is still receiving hits from Pakistani IP addresses - see

drpak Dr pak - 3/3/2006

To answer some of the questions here. The ban has been in place for 3 days now. I only realised it was a ban today when an ISP informed a fellow blogger friend of mine of the fact.

In response, I've set up a google group at:
It's called the "Action Group Against the Blogspot Ban In Pakistan." I'm hoping to get as many bloggers on board to raise awareness over the ban itself and also on just how ridiculous it is.

If some of you have been getting visitors from Pakistan to your blogspot blogs, those guys are probably using an IP anonymizer, as I have started to do.

Manan Ahmed - 3/3/2006

Also, I think they will do a site-by-site block [they maintain the world's longest blocked porn directory afterall] as opposed to all of blogspot. How? No clue, so far.

Ralph E. Luker - 3/3/2006

I think the report is that the block didn't go into effect until today. And various people are still checking to see how effective the block is.

Rebecca Anne Goetz - 3/3/2006

I had a hit yesterday from Pakistan on my blog--which is hosted and supported by blogger. Maybe the ban isn't as effective as it sounds?

Ralph E. Luker - 3/3/2006

If Cliopatria's audience is any measure of things, the North Korean is the only regime that has been completely successful in blocking the internet. Even Myanmar, for example, isn't wholly successful. For many parts of the world, poverty is a greater obstacle to internet communications than blocking. My guess is that tech-savvy Pakistanis will find ways around the blocks.

Manan Ahmed - 3/3/2006

Should be noted that one of the defendants named is Yahoo - the other being 1&1 - which has been implicated in the blogger-arrests in China as well.

Jonathan Dresner - 3/3/2006

I think censorship is horrendous and -- in the long run -- counterproductive, but I have to give the Pakistani Supreme Court credit: by insisting that the law be followed now and with no regard whatsoever to the technical vagaries of the situation, they've taken a stand against what would certainly have been corporate and governmental foot-dragging...

Seriously, though, given the nature of the internet, chopping off blogspot is just the beginning. I wonder if this will be the beginning of another entirely separate internet infrastructure: the Chinese way really is the only way to isolate a population, and even they allow far too much access to be really thorough.

Manan Ahmed - 3/3/2006

"hard to take them seriously"
Just look at that dining room picture accompanying the Dawn piece. Empty talk, indeed. ARD [remember MRD?] is the kid outside the candystore with the nose pressed against the glass pane. Looking longingly not at 'democracy' but their turn at the dictatorship.