Innocence of Muslims, which has very rightly caused uproar all around the world, is an anti-Islamic video written and produced by Nakoula Basseley Nakoula. It was initially titled Desert Warrior when it was filmed in 2011. The script was about the “tribal battles” prompted by the arrival of a comet on earth. Though the story had no religious references, anti-Islamic content was added post-production through overdubbing, reportedly, without the knowledge of the actors, who have now taken the producer to the court. The reaction all around the world was swift and the YouTube links were immediately blocked in Saudi Arabia and India on the request of the governments by the US-based company in San Bruno, California. The same request was sent by the Pakistani authorities, but was declined on the ground that no Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) exists between Pakistan and USA for the purpose of gathering and exchanging information in an effort to enforce public or criminal laws. This lapse is in fact on the part of Ministry of IT and Telecom, which for the last two years has failed to get this treaty signed. Had this been in place, YouTube would have immediately blocked the sites. Failing in their efforts to get the objectionable link blocked, the government retorted to blocking all the YouTube links in the country. It is also pertinent to add here that Google links in Pakistan have a ‘dot pk’ (www.google.com.pk) extension to it because of its agreement of domain hosting, thus enabling them to block any Google link on the request of the government, as it comes under the contractual domain. Had there been MLAT in place, we would not have been in this state of mess running from pillar to post for the remedies.However, interestingly, no treaty (specifically MLAT) exists between the US and Libya, but the links to YouTube were immediately blocked by the company on the orders of the US authorities. This came after the death of the American Ambassador in Libya; whereas United States owing to its double standards of equality and justice ignored the blood of two Pakistani protestors, who were shot dead by the police during the demonstrations against the objectionable film. If the US administration could block the content for Libya without having any treaty with them, then why Pakistan was not given the same leverage? This has got more to do with our leadership’s failure, which has always bowed to the dictates of Uncle Sam by acting like ever obliging subservient stooges. Had the government stopped the Nato supplies, instead of giving a cosmetic public holiday on Friday for satisfying political obligations, the US administration functionaries would have come running to us to resolve the issue. It is even more shameful that our Foreign Office did not have the courage to call the US Ambassador in Pakistan to their offices for lodging an official complaint. In the recent past when someone typed “Michelle Obama”, wife of US President Barack Obama, in the popular search engine Google, one of the first images that came up was a picture of the American first lady altered to resemble a monkey; a racially offensive image. Google faced a firestorm of criticism over the episode and banned the website that posted the photo saying it could spread a malware virus. According to the US Constitution under the Freedom of Expression Act, Google could not block the site, hence used the excuse of malware virus to block the link. However, when the image appeared on another website, Google let the photo stand but with an apologetic ad that occasionally appeared above it. The ad redirected users to a statement from Google that read: “Sometimes Google search results from the Internet can include disturbing content, even from innocuous queries. We assure you that the views expressed by such sites are not in any way endorsed by Google.” The bottom line is our own image of being a weak state having no integrity to influence events, which are against our interests or briefs. Can’t really blame the West alone for their selective justice! The solution lies in taking the right decisions at the right time with utmost integrity, instead of raising cosmetic rhetoric once the damage has already been done. 

nThe writer is a PhD in Information Technology, alumni of King’s College London and a social activist. He is life member of the Pakistan Engineering Council and senior international editor for IT Insight Magazine. He has authored two books titled Understanding Telecommunications and Living In The Grave and several research papers.Blog: drirfanzafar.com Email: drirfanzafar@gmail.com