Students protest against Facebook caricatures competition
* Protester says govt incompetent
* Demonstrators chant slogans against US, Sweden, Norway, Israel, Denmark
* Ali Azmat says issue should be handled responsibly
By Muhammad Aayan
LAHORE: Students across the city openly questioned on Wednesday the motive behind Facebook’s holding of a competition of caricatures of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
The Young Doctors Association – with students from the Kind Edward Medical University, Fatima Jinnah Medical College and Islami Jamiat Taliba – protested at different parts of the city against the social networking website for holding the competition.
“This is the limit, first the blasphemous caricatures were published and now a Jewish lobby is using a sophisticated method to hurt sentiments of Muslims around the world. The government is clearly doing nothing in this regard and it’s evident that they are incompetent and cannot take any steps,” an angry protester told Daily Times.
Slogans: Moreover, participants of the Al-Muhammadia Students Pakistan also held a massive protest outside the Lahore Press Club and walked towards the Assembly Hall. They chanted slogans against America, Sweden, Norway, Israel and Denmark for publishing the blasphemous caricatures.
“First they published the caricatures and now they are spreading them on a popular medium like Facebook. They want to change the mindset of the upcoming generation. The Tehreek-e-Hurmat-e-Rasool has also scheduled a protest at the Masjid-e-Shuhuda today (Thursday),” one of the protesters said.
Salman Kazi of the YDA said they are preparing for countrywide protests “for which we have contacted students of all medical colleges and universities”.
Maintain image: Musician Ali Azmat said the issue should be dealt with sternly so that no such thing takes place in the future. “Every Muslim condemns this act, but it should be handled responsibly because we have to maintain our image. I have registered my condemnation of the relevant Facebook page.”
The Lahore High Court had asked the Foreign Ministry to launch an international protest over the issue and seek an apology from the people responsible, Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit told Daily Times, adding the issue had already been taken up at the Human Rights Council, Organisation of Islamic Conference and the UN General Assembly.
Apology: “Now Facebook is being used to do the same thing which is not acceptable at any level. We are also seeking the stance of like-minded countries after which we will form a different strategy to seek apology from those responsible,” Basit added.
While the LHC has ordered banning Facebook across the country, the IT Ministry on Wednesday issued a notification stating that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has directed all operators concerned in Pakistan to block the website until further notice.