The Islamic Republic of Pakistan’s honourary government banned Twitter for around 8 hours due to ‘blasphemous content’ being published by some people (who may be Twitter’s out-of-bounds children, the way our authorities were trying to make it control those unnamed individuals). Funnily many tweet-a-holics didn’t have a clue about any blasphemous competition going on on twitter till the government imposed the ban and announced the reason. Not surprisingly, after the uproar the ban caused, the micro-blogging site was back on soon after. A real in-your-face moment that must have been for the IT minister who, BTW, started trending in Pakistan alongside #TwitterBan, a short while after the ban was imposed.
But anyway, that’s not the point. The point is what happened at the end of the day? People across Pakistan tweeted against the ban and condemned the authorities for being so dumb and stupid (again). If there’s one thing Pakistani government can do best it is to help people find illegal ways to do extremely normal things by imposing a ban on them. A few years ago it was Facebook, banned for the same reason. Few hours after howling in pain and experiencing withdrawal symptoms, almost everyone was back on the site, uploading pictures, updating statuses and all the other useless and harmless things we do on Facebook, using alternate proxies. I really wanted to stick my tongue out at the Muslim government whose interior minister doesn’t even know how to recite a basic Surah from the Holy Quran. But that is not blasphemous. Nope. Because it’s a Muslim who’s reciting his holy book wrong, not a Christian or Hindu or other such things. Interestingly, no other Muslim country expressed its outrage the same way.
Social networking and blogging websites are the biggest platform for anyone to promote what they believe in. These sites help people communicate and unite under the flag of their similarities. For a country like ours, which lacks this very element, these websites can be a great platform for us to start and promote positive movements and emotions, only if our dear government let us. These sites are where we can share whatever’s on our mind without caring about any damned authority. Why does this Muslim government of ours fail to notice the hundreds and thousands of pages on Facebook promoting Islam and its teachings in the most peaceful and tolerant way than any of our mullahs and preachers? If we want to condemn the sites for what blasphemous content posted by individuals, we should applaud them for holy and positive content posted by its users as well. Don’t they deserve it?
My message to the Pakistani government: it’ll do us and you more good if you try to solve the violent war that is going on between religious sects in the country. You see, because in these not-so-online wars, people are actually dying with all the sensitive feelings they have for religion. And they can’t even condemn you for it.
This was originally published on Sunday, 20th May, 2012, here. A few months later, the Pak-saaf government banned YouTube because of an offensive video clip of thirteen minutes which most people were unaware of until the government announced it. Naturally, most of the Pakistani population saw that clip on YouTube after the ban was imposed. The site is still banned 😛