Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Pakistani Authorities blocked 12 websites, including Blogger.com

Journalists in one of the most dangerous zone for reporters are concerned about the decision of the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA), to block access to twelve websites which posted the cartoons of the prophet Mohammed which appeared in the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten.
The PTA on 28 February ordered Internet Service Providers to block the website blogspot.com (or blogger.com), taking down thousands of weblogs hosted by this tool.
“We believe that the decision to ban a website should only ever be taken by a judge, at the end of a fair trial. It is moreover unacceptable that the order to block a site should go through the PTA, which while apparently aiming at one blog hosted by blogger.com, led to the filtering of all websites sharing the same domain name,” said the organisation.
This order from the PTA comes around ten days after a petition calling on the government to ban the spread of “blasphemous content” through the Internet, was submitted to the Supreme Court. The court on 2 March formally asked the government to take such a step.
The bloggers network Global Voices, which revealed the case on its site, has been posting information about campaigns launched by bloggers to condemn the filtering.
Local access providers have applied the PTA decision by blocking access to all sites whose URL incorporates blogspot.com, that is all sites hosted by this service. It is however technically possible to ban access solely to a blog causing a problem.

Gitmo thug: Osama said he's prophet

A Pakistani millionaire held at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay testified that he met Osama Bin Laden twice and the Al Qaeda leader called himself "a prophet."
The testimony of Saifullah Paracha was included in thousands of pages of transcripts released Friday by the Pentagon because of a successful Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by The Associated Press.
Paracha, a New York Institute of Technology graduate, testified in English. He said he owns seven businesses, including a news agency, a construction agency and a manufacturing company in Pakistan, and travel agencies in New York, Chicago, Washington and San Francisco.
In 1999, Paracha said, he met Bin Laden in Afghanistan. The following year, he returned to Afghanistan to interview Bin Laden for his news agency, Universal Broadcast Ltd.
"He delivered [preached] the Koran, and said he was a prophet," Paracha said. "He said very nice things, very impressive."
But Paracha denied all the accusations raised in the January 2005 tribunal, conducted to determine whether he was properly classified as an "enemy combatant." Those accusations included money laundering for Al Qaeda, plotting to smuggle explosives into the U.S. and recommending that nuclear weapons be used against U.S. soldiers.
Paracha's son, Uzair Paracha, faces up to 75 years in prison after his November conviction in New York for providing material support to terrorists.

Monday, March 06, 2006

BBC reporter Arrested in Pakistan.

Sialkot: Pakistan
March 06, 2006.

Pakistan Press Club (PPC) today urged the Pakistani Government to act against military officials arresting and threatening journalists working in tribal areas.
The threats to journalists especially foreign correspondents are unacceptable,”Mohsin Abbas said, and we call on military authorities to take steps to deal with those who harass and arrest reporters who are working in tribal areas.

Today (Monday) morning BBC Correspondent Haroon Rasheed was arrested in Wazirastan area of Pakistan and kept in the military custody for few hours. Also two other western journalists were not allowed to enter the area. In this area for past three days military is fighting with Taliban warlords. There had been a lot of causalities in the region.

Haroon Rasheed is BBC correspondent from Peshawar Pakistan. He was arrested on Monday morning at a security check post near Meran Shah.

These are the fiercest clashes between security forces and pro-Taliban militants since the army went into the lawless area more than three years ago.
The number of dead has gone up to 73, including five soldiers and a civilian, after three days of clashes between the army and militants, the army says.

Authorities told no reason for arresting Haroon Rasheed. After his release he was ordered to leave the area. For few months military is not allowing reporters to enter North and south Wazirastaan. Especially The reporters from foreign media outlets are not allowed in the region.