A Pakistani court has reportedly ordered a ban on nine websites, including Google, Yahoo and Hotmail for allegedly posting blasphemous material, though officials on Wednesday said they had not received any such instructions.
Media reports said the Bahawalpur Bench of the Lahore High Court on Tuesday directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to immediately block nine websites, including Google, Yahoo, MSN, Hotmail, YouTube, Bing and Amazon, for publishing and promoting sacrilegious and blasphemous material.
Justice Mazher Iqbal Sidhu issued the order while hearing a petition filed by Muhammad Sidiq. Justice Sidhu also ordered the PTA chairman to appear in court on June 28 with relevant materials.
Mr. Sidiq sought a ban on the websites for publication of blasphemous materials and twisting facts about the Koran.
Aslam Dhakkar, head of a local Bar Association, was quoted as saying that the court had given a historic decision. However, PTA officials told PTI that they had received no instructions to block the websites and only seen media reports about the court's order.
Wahaj-us-Siraj, a spokesman for the Internet Service Providers Association of Pakistan, said his organisation had not received any directions from the PTA to block websites.
Pakistani authorities had blocked popular social networking website Facebook in May for holding ‘Everybody Draw Mohammed Day' competition.
Access to the website was later restored on the orders of the court.