:::: MENU ::::
Posts tagged with: PTA

WordPress Blocked in Pakistan

The popular blogging site WordPress.com is being blocked in Pakistan courtesy of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority flexing their muscles. This is not new, in 2006 Blogspot was blocked because one blog hosted on the Blogspot domain posted the controversial cartoons mocking our prophet Muhammed (PBUH) the blockage lasted for over two years and was silently removed but the website still lingers on.

Today the site which might have been responsible (as per my info) for the cause of the WordPress censorship is undoubtedly Anti-Pakistan propaganda and has been engaged in this Anti-Pakistan propaganda for quite sometime, even to the extent of supporting TTP terrorists against Pakistan etc, but by blocking it, does not serve Pakistan well, as inadvertently the Govt of Pakistan attracts more undue attention towards the site, a site which I too would not have bothered to look up – had if Govt of Pakistan not decided to block it, inquisitively I looked around to search the cause of the block to actually see why had it irked PTA enough to block it.

Now hats off to PTA as the traffic / attention to the site increases … censorship is hence a double edge sword, but propaganda wins, if it reaches the tipping point of curiosity, catapulting the issue to mainstream news, as compared to an unknown blog post being uploaded on some random blog site pushing filth

Aamir Attaa at ProPakistani upates that this might only be a two day block

“A source at Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has confirmed ProPakistani that WordPress.com is temporarily blocked in Pakistan due to severe issues related to national security. It appears now that blocking decision is somewhat related to Pakistan day. Source, who wanted to remain unnamed, said that exact content that caused the blockade can’t be revealed due to seriousness of the matter. Source further confirmed that WordPress.com will be unblocked in two days from now”

Post Edit: One does go through a flux of thoughts at times like these, sure on 23rd March with patriotism in full swing, Anti-state propaganda is to be shunned / ignored, and in their self acclaimed defenders of the ideology of Pakistan – PTA decides to possibly take a moratorium on wordpress for 2 days (?) to silence this idiotic blog but does blocking one blog warrant the blatant censorship of millions of other blogs

Many may argue, its not the end of the world, sure… but why should millions of blog access suffer for one idiotic lunatic hosting something against Pakistan. Havent they inturn given legitimacy to the blog, that they have successfully irked the Pakistani nation and in some way catapulted the blogger to international fame. Ignoring such lunatics possibly requires prudence in thought, it could compel PTA to ask Channels/PEMRA to ignore such Anti-Pakistan stories, but attracting attention to the site is a damning shot in their own foot


Twitter Blocked in Pakistan – Permanently or Weekend Testing?

Twitter Blocked in PakistanAs of 1:00pm Sunday Twitter.com has become inaccessible to all users in Pakistan. Practically all ISP’s have reports of users complaining of twitter.com being inaccessible. Ever since the reports emerged we have asked affected users to help test the site from their ISP connections and within minutes we had hundreds of reports The traceroute shows a very interesting fact, the block is at the DNS level, the url is not resolving right from the get go

traceroute twitter.com
traceroute: unknown host twitter.com

When you do a simple traceroute for yahoo.com

traceroute yahoo.com
traceroute: Warning: yahoo.com has multiple addresses; using 72.30.38.140
traceroute to yahoo.com (72.30.38.140), 64 hops max, 52 byte packets
1 192.168.0.10 (192.168.0.10) 2260.190 ms 0.864 ms 0.705 ms
2 203.99.169.18 (203.99.169.18) 24.729 ms 24.442 ms 21.330 ms
3 10.0.2.6 (10.0.2.6) 43.865 ms 43.745 ms 43.108 ms
4 203.99.170.234 (203.99.170.234) 46.673 ms 46.131 ms 45.280 ms
5 rwp44.pie.net.pk (221.120.253.1) 45.757 ms 46.353 ms 43.939 ms
6 rwp44.pie.net.pk (221.120.254.38) 43.749 ms 44.675 ms 44.910 ms
7 static-khi-ni01-swa.pie.net.pk (202.125.128.162) 44.823 ms 44.716 ms 45.713 ms
8 khi77.ptcl.net.pk (202.125.129.110) 181.540 ms 179.108 ms 180.835 ms
9 ge-1-3-0.pat1.ams.yahoo.com (195.69.145.110) 175.123 ms 176.314 ms 176.563 ms

Shows that the pings head to PIE [Pakistan Internet Exchange] in Rawalpindi then to the Karachi PIE server before heading out to Yahoo. Twitter does not even get beyond the first hop

My gutt feeling is that PTA is just testing their URL Filtering system, we had reports of them testing some image servers on facebook last week, and it disappeared by the evening. PTA choose Sunday to avoid any legal backlash exploiting the courts day off. I also dont buy into the argument of Express News that the access to Twitter was blocked due to an ongoing “competition” of Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) caricatures. As no one knew about this “in Pakistan” and it was an unknown issue on twitter to target this portal on Sunday afternoon, there seems to be no evidence to come to that conclusion and feel Tribune should be careful in making such sweeping statements on such a sensitive issue can spark an outlash. I definitely believe they are testing their system. Though the civil society has to its credit a stay order on the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority preventing them from blocking websites obtained on 19th April 2012 which can be used against them.

Once they get through these testing days I am sure it can be later used as and when needed. Though the argument presented by PTA is that it needs this technology to crack down on Terrorism related issue, but one may never know when it can be used for political censorship


STAY GRANTED: Constitutional Petition Preventing PTA from Blocking of Websites

On the 17th of April 2012, seven individuals, Dr. Awab Alvi, Sana Saleem, Faisal Kapadia, Nazim Haji, Naeem Sadiq, Noman Quadri and Ayesha Tammy Haq, through their lawyer Haider Waheed with Basil Nabi Malik, petitioned the High Court of Sindh at Karachi challenging the arbitrary and random acts of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) in blocking/ censoring and restricting access to various websites in violation of the fundamental rights of the owners of the websites/online forums as well as the public at large, and without affording the aggrieved persons an opportunity of being heard or due notice.

It was prayed in the said petition that no website could be blocked/ censored or restricted without affording the aggrieved parties (including the public at large) due notice and an opportunity to be heard in accordance with Articles 4, 9, 10-A, 18, 19, 19A, 20 and 25 of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973, read with Section 6 of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority Act, 1996.

The Honorable High Court of Sindh issued notice to the Federation of Pakistan, through the Secretary, Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication, and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, through its Chairman, and furthermore ordered the PTA not to block any website other than in accordance with the provisions of the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-Organization) Act, 1996.

It may be noted that as per the PTA Act, the correct procedure to be followed before blocking or censoring of websites is as per Section 6 of the said Act, which states,

Section 6:  Responsibilities of the Authority.—In exercising its functions and powers under this Act, the Authority shall ensure that—

  • Rights of licensees are duly protected;
  • All of its decisions and determinations are made promptly, in an open equitable, non-discriminatory, consistent and transparent manner;
  • All applications made to it are disposed of expeditiously;
  • The persons affected by its decisions or determinations are given a due notice thereof and provided with an opportunity of being heard;
  • Fair competition in the telecommunication sector exists and is maintained
  • The interests of users of telecommunication services are duly safeguarded and protected.

The said petition has not been made to stop the banning of any website or forum contrary to the rules already laid out by the PTA but has instead the objective of bringing the entire process under judicial review to insure its fairness, transparency and to provide a proper system of redress of the parties owning these websites and forums and protect the fundamental rights of the public at large, including internet users, in Pakistan.
Continue reading “STAY GRANTED: Constitutional Petition Preventing PTA from Blocking of Websites” »


Prophets, protests and holocaust

Anyone who’s been on Youtube or Facebook or Blogs in general knows that no intelligent conversation can take place between two Internet-commenters. It’s like the paralympics being hosted on the Interwebs. Even if you win, you’re still retarded. During the last fortnight, ever since this unfortunate drawing contest issue caught fire.

I’ve been reading countless accounts of Pakistani Internet users in a variety of rhetoric styles which all sum up to this one thing: ‘they’ are out to get ‘us’ and they have COOKIES! Ok, I’m just joking about the cookies but I can practically hear Mr. Zaid Hamid saying in the most Dumbledore-esque voice: ‘I will only truly have left the Pakistani minds when none here are loyal to me’. Most of the Pakistanis today are channeling the same spirit which can only be likened to a mental patient caught between acute psychosis, paranoia and schizophrenia. The bottomline is, had we paid any attention to the course ‘Introduction to Logic-374’ in college, we would perhaps be aware of how absurd all our comments and arguments are. I will try to counter some in this post:

1. Blasphemy is a BIG deal:
Yes it is a big deal but so is tolerance. You are claiming to be the followers of a Prophet who preached that conquering wrath and anger is perhaps the bravest thing a man could do. I’m not a religious scholar but I’m quite sure that the Prophet who himself went to visit an old woman who used to throw garbage at him, the Prophet who only had well wishes for a city which reduced him to blood and tears when Angel Gabrielle stood at his command to just say the word and Taif would be history -that Prophet would not condone such inflammatory reactions in his name.
Continue reading “Prophets, protests and holocaust” »


PRESS CONFERENCE: Protest Against Nationwide Government Ban of Facebook

For Immediate Release

Defenders of Internet Freedom Protest Against Nationwide Government Ban of Facebook

On Wednesday 19th May 2010, the Lahore High Court ordered the banning of Facebook across Pakistan. Facebook is the world’s most popular social media network and is used by over 400 million globally. In Pakistan, over 2 million people use Facebook to stay in touch with their friends and family, conduct business, manage events, and share photos, news, and other content. A few days ago, a page called “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day” was created on Facebook asking users to submit drawings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on 20th May 2010. This page, interpreted as blasphemous, has triggered a nationwide ban on the entire Facebook domain.

While we recognize that sites on the Internet are used to spew hatred and incite violence, we steadfastly believe that governments have no right to control access to information. We believe that every citizen has an inalienable right to freely access information and by censoring Facebook, the Government of Pakistan has taken away that right. This action will have a very negative impact on Pakistan, especially considering that countless small businesses, nonprofit organizations, restaurants, art galleries, magazines, and media outlets use Facebook to conduct day-to-day business and share information with their stakeholders.

In 2006, the Supreme Court of Pakistan banned the entire blogspot.com domain for over 18 months over a similar incident where only one blog carried blasphemous cartoons. Thousands of Pakistani bloggers were deprived of the freedom to express themselves and interact with others. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority now has the ability to block specific pages on the Internet and could have banned just the single blasphemous page. As members of civil society and professionals who depend on social media networks for our daily communications, we demand the immediate restoration of Facebook and an end to Internet censorship by the Government of Pakistan.

We would like to invite you to a press conference to discuss the worrying trend of Internet censorship and the resulting impact on civil liberties and the free and unfettered exchange of ideas and information.

Date: 20th May 2010
Time: 5:00 pm
Venue: Karachi Press Club

PS attempts are being made to live stream the event from the Press Club, follow this space for updates, if we are able to pull this off


Lahore High Court orders Facebook blocked till the 31st of May

Following hot in the footsteps of the controversial Draw Mohammed Day, Lahore High Court has issued orders to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to block facebook up till the 31st of May on an petition lodged by Islamic Lawyers Movement on Tuesday

Daily Times: Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry of the Lahore High Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority secretary to reply until Wednesday (today), on a petition seeking a ban on Facebook, which is holding a competition of caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Islamic Lawyers Movement filed the petition through Chaudhry Zulfiqar advocate, who stated that a competition was announced on Facebook on April 20 which would continue until May 20, asking all the members of the website to create their caricatures to participate in the competition

Tribune reports that PTA urged the court to only ban those particular pages showing the offensive drawings. It is said PTA still awaits the orders when they will be handed down from the Ministry of IT, after which a nationwide ban will go into effect on facebook.com
Continue reading “Lahore High Court orders Facebook blocked till the 31st of May” »


World Day Against Cyber Censorship in Pakistan

As a long time activists working for a free and open Internet in Pakistan, I would like to join Reporters Sans Frontieres in highlighting the World Day Against Cyber Censorship today 12th March. This event is intended to rally everyone in support of a single Internet that is unrestricted and accessible to all. It is also meant to draw attention to the fact that, by creating new spaces for exchanging ideas and information, the Internet is a force for freedom.

The Internet in Pakistan is controlled by the bureaucracy within the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and the people of Pakistan remain at the behest of their discretion on what is permissible and what is not permissible in Pakistan. PTA is quite definitely influenced by the mighty and powerful rulers of our country and enforce censorship on specific websites that they may deem themselves to be offensive.
Continue reading “World Day Against Cyber Censorship in Pakistan” »


PTA blocks website : Make Pakistan Better

In an email sent just now by the webmaster of Make Pakistan Better, I was shocked to read that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Director General (Enforcement) Yawer Yasin has instructed all its Zonal Directors on 18th January 2010 to block the website http://makepakistanbetter.com on an IP level.

Since its blocked from Pakistan one can still view the website from Google cache and it shows some interesting anti-government articles which may have been the thorn that lead to the blockage. I believe this is a serious invasion of freedom of speech and sadly the PTA has not defined or responded to the reason why this website has been deemed objectionable for users in Pakistan
Continue reading “PTA blocks website : Make Pakistan Better” »


PTA blocks Asif Ali Zardari’s ‘Shut-up’ Youtube Video

Sunday evening Youtube.com started facing intermittent reports of inaccessibility. It initially started off with a simple white page saying “This Site is Accessible” subsequent reports were submitted on Herdict Web shows the inaccessibility lasted for about an hour but then everything recovered back to normal.

It was then later reported that the crackdown by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority was on one particular video which is of Mr. Asif Ali Zardari saying a very forceful Shut Up to an audience member while he is busy delivering his speech at a rally.

Link to the Blocked Video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzuHD5x1fEU [a few other variants have also been blocked]

Speculations are that as this government will continue to edgy on a number of issues as they get pushed into a corner, instinctively they will react in short similar burst. It is a known fact that the President and his core group of leaders might be feeling the heat from the Supreme Court of Pakistan as the NRO was apparently chucked away into oblivion hence leaving them technically ineligible to occupy these high-level offices.
Continue reading “PTA blocks Asif Ali Zardari’s ‘Shut-up’ Youtube Video” »


PTA Blocks websites with Salman Taseer’s pictures ‘Harmful for the integrity of the Country’

Its being reported that PTA has recently blocked six specific URL’s in Pakistan deeming them “harmful for the integrity of the country“. These websites are blocked for carrying a certain set of pictures containing Salman Taseer, The Governor of Punjab & his family.  The PTA is said to have complied upon the request from the Inter Ministerial Committee which has prefered to monitor and block anti-Pakistan, blasphemous, and pornographic web sites.

The alleged pictures had started making rounds on the Internet in early November and consequentially did find its way on a few specific websites, we too did share a couple but preferred to ignore the remaining as they were definitely too personal for public consumption.

Though on a personal level we exercised self-restraint in choosing not to publish the private pictures of his daughter, but I am shocked to see the official bureaucracy go begging at his mercy deeming these websites as harming the national integrity of Pakistan, quite definitely a far fetched lame excuse at best. I am sure there could have been other effective legal measures to bring down these pictures, which would then have been a better representative of a democratically elected government but it seems they still choose to rule by the dictatorial stick. All said, I am definitely shocked to see how easily PTA was eager to comply to this lame excuse on the whims of certain individuals and hope that they quickly revert their decision to block these websites
Continue reading “PTA Blocks websites with Salman Taseer’s pictures ‘Harmful for the integrity of the Country’” »