Last Updated: Mon Nov 01, 2010 20:14 pm (KSA) 17:14 pm (GMT)

Pakistan blocks 'blasphemous' YouTube: source

An anti-Denmark protest in the city of Quetta
An anti-Denmark protest in the city of Quetta

Pakistan has ordered all Internet service providers to block the YouTube website for containing "blasphemous" content and material considered offensive to Islam, officials said Sunday.

An inter-ministerial committee has decided to block YouTube because it contained "blasphemous content, videos and documents," a government official told AFP.

"The site will remain blocked till further orders," he said.

Other officials said the site had been blocked because it contained controversial sketches of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) which were republished by Danish newspapers earlier this month.

One major service provider, Micronet, sent an email to subscribers advising them of the ban.

"Meanwhile Internet users can write to YouTube.com to remove the objectionable web content/movies because this removal would enable the authorities to order un-blocking of this website," the email said.

At least 17 Danish newspapers republished the controversial drawing, vowing to defend freedom of expression a day after Danish police said they had foiled a plot to murder the cartoonist.

In the latest in a series of demonstrations over the cartoons in Pakistan, activists from a hardline Islamic organization burned a Danish flag in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta on Sunday.

"It is a deliberate attempt to malign Islam and hurt the feelings of Muslims," Habib Shah Kerani told the protesters from the Anjman-e-Islam (Organization of Islam) group.

They also demanded the government close Danish missions in Islamabad and sever diplomatic relations, witnesses said.

Twelve cartoons published in September 2005 by the Danish Jyllands-Posten newspaper sparked bloody riots in the Islamic world.

Five people died in Pakistan in February 2006 during protests against the cartoons, while a Pakistani cleric offered a reward of one million dollars and a new car to anyone who killed any of the cartoonists.

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