Pakistan loses young Facebook friends

Raza Rumi was quoted by the Australian here:
The Lahore High Court banned access to the social networking site on Wednesday after conservative Islamic lawyers argued the Everybody Draw Mohammed Day page was blasphemous. Hours later the state extended the ban to YouTube and by Thursday morning BlackBerry services had been pulled as fusty bureaucrats got wise to its Facebook application.
Before the end of the day BlackBerry services were restored under pressure from corporate and political heavyweights who, notwithstanding their religious devotion, drew the line at interference with business.
“Text messaging and Facebook are incredibly important in Pakistan because they are the only way many young people can keep in touch and form relationships,” said Lahore-based blogger and TV producer Farzana Fiaz. “There are no clubs or pubs here. Socially it’s very segregated and if you’re seen talking to a boy neighbours will talk and it could get you into a lot of trouble.”
Ms Fiaz, a British-born Pakistani, said she was torn. “I have seen on Facebook (she has found a way around the ban) that a lot of my younger, more liberal friends are totally opposed to the ban and see it as an infringement of their civil liberties and even their human rights,” she said.
Raza Rumi, editor of liberal Friday Times and founder of the e-zine Pakistan Tea House, described the ban as “ludicrous”. He had no argument that the Everybody Draw Mohammed Day campaign – reportedly a response to death threats against the South Park TV show creators for depicting Mohammed in a bear suit – was offensive to Muslims. Continue reading “Pakistan loses young Facebook friends”

the new e-conflict zone for Indian, Pak netizens?

Times of India has quotes my post on Varun Gandhi today. Well, I know media-wallas have to find stories and sell. It was good to see my name in a prestigious paper but the intent ascribed was not too flattering. I believe in peace and reconciliation between India and Pakistan as the only way forward for South Asia. And, I will condemn extremism wherever it raises its ugly head – in India, in Pakistan and elsewhere.

 What is good is that at least we – the citizens/bloggers – are being heard. (RR)

Elections, the new e-conflict zone for Indian, Pak netizens (PTI – in TOI today)

NEW DELHI: It’s a virtual war in the cyber space. As the election scene hots up in the country, netizens especially in Pakistan are watching the scene keenly and letting out their views on all issues ranging from elections, candidates to Varun Gandhi and his controversial speeches. Continue reading “the new e-conflict zone for Indian, Pak netizens?”

Lahore Nama – A new blogspace devoted to the magical city

I have been rather casually posting news, stories and comments on Lahore’s heritage and its current status on Lahore Nama. While blogging here I was always tempted to write about Lahore or post stuff by others on my beloved city. Noting that this would be rather obsessive, I have created an outlet for this obsession and a new blog is now on the block, as they say.

What differentiates Lahore Nama from other Lahore-centred blogs? Indeed, it is no way near the excellent Lahore metblog that is managed by a good team of motivated bloggers. My focus is on Lahore’s past and viewing the present in relation to that.

Luckily, Darwaish in Lahore has sent me some brilliant pieces and Ahmad Rafay Alam has agreed to the use of his incisive articles on urban planning; and Mayank Austen Soofi has also been contributing stories for cross-posting. In fact Soofi was most kind to announce the birth of Lahore Nama on The Delhi Walla. I quote from that story:

More than 60 years have passed since the creation of our two nations. 60 years should be but a blip in the life of great cities like Delhi and Lahore but meantime much has changed in their characters. And character is destiny. Both cities have continued to grow in ways that makes them very different from each other. Delhi lost its Muslim refinement. Lahore lost its Hindu heritage. Today there are three cities of Delhi and three cities of Lahore: what they used to be; what they are now; what they could have been.

So Lahore Nama is on the blog-horizon and without much effort on my part it is attracting a few hundred visitors each day.

Such is the pull of Lahore….