Facebook Restores Pages Linked to Pakistan’s Extremist Jamaat-e-Islami Party

A girl holds a flag of Islamic political party Jamaat-e-Islami while taking part in a protest with others in Islamabad on May 20, 2010, against an online competition to draw pictures of Prophet Mohammad on Facebook which Muslims deem blasphemous. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood
REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood

Facebook has restored the official page of Pakistan’s extremists-linked Islamist party, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), nearly a day after it was removed allegedly for featuring a picture of a rebel commander in Kashmir killed by the Indian military.

Pakistan, its regional rival India, and China have competing territorial claims to the Himalayan region of Kashmir.

“Facebook management informed us by sending a screenshot of the page’s display picture, saying ‘it violates community standards,’” Shamsuddin Amjad, the party’s social media chief, told The Express Tribune.

In a statement following Facebook’s removal of the official page, JI said:

Indo-Pak war is not going only at diplomatic level… now this is cyber war.

After removing or blocking all those who have [a display picture of Burhan Wani], now [the] official page of Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan has been removed by Facebook due to coverage of atrocities in Indian-held Kashmir.

JI appears to have posted a picture of Wani’s body after he was killed.

Wani is identified by The Express Tribune as “a 22-year-old commander of the region’s largest rebel group, Hizbul Mujahideen [who] was killed in a brief gunfight with Indian forces on July 8.”

“Since then, at least 100 demonstrators have been killed due to the occupied military’s indiscriminate use of force against Kashmiri masses,” adds the news outlet.

Other Facebook pages affiliated with JI are also back up. The official page was removed Wednesday and the others the day before, reports DAWN.

However, Echoing The Express Tribune, Daily Pakistan points out:

Facebook administration has restored the official page of Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan after some 20 hours of suspension, JI Social Media chief Shamsuddin Amjad confirmed on Thursday.

A statement on the JI official page said that Facebook page of the political party’s women’s wing has also been restored. All of the suspended user accounts were also reinstated by the social media network.

JI, the oldest social conservative party in Pakistan, has branches in India and Bangladesh. It is also active among South Asian Muslim communities across the world, particularly in the United Kingdom.

The Pakistan-based wing of the party has been linked to radicals and extreme interpretations of Sharia law.

Meanwhile, in neighboring Bangladesh, JI has been affiliated with violent attacks, the jihadist group Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), and war crimes associated with the country’s 1971 war of independence from Pakistan.

While the official page was taken down by Facebook Wednesday, DAWN learned from JI’s social media head Amjad that “the party pages representing Jamaat’s zonal sections Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Women Wing were removed on Tuesday.”

“The party’s social media head further informed that the personal accounts of around two dozen admins of the Jamaat’s official page, which was removed, were also suspended,” adds DAWN.

The Express Tribune reports:

Meanwhile, [the] party’s Secretary Information Pakistan Amirul Azeem in a statement said deleting posts, and blocking JI’s Facebook page was against the freedom of expression. He demanded the ban be reversed, else legal action could be initiated.

DAWN adds:

In the past few months, Facebook has repeatedly come under fire for suspending certain accounts on the social media platform, belonging to both native Kashmiris and foreigners present in and outside of the disputed Himalayan region.

The accounts which have been suspended till date had posted comments, pictures or videos to highlight the treatment meted out to Kashmiris in the latest episode of unrest.


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