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Pakistan unblocks YouTube — ban lifted after 3 years & 4 months

PAKISTAN: After a ban on it for three years and four months, the Pakistan government has formally unblocked YouTube.

On January 18, an official of the state-run Internet regulator Pakistan Telecommunication Authority said that directives had been issued to all ISPs to immediately unblock YouTube.

This comes days after the country’s Supreme Court was told by a senior official of the law ministry that a localized version of YouTube had already been launched by Google and that this did not contain any blasphemous clips.

The PTA official explained that because of this, there was no reason to block the website anymore. He said that the Authority was merely acting as a messenger and had ordered the blocking of the website — which was banned in Pakistan on September 17, 2012 — after the country’s top court had issued directives that all blasphemous content be blocked by the PTA.

In a hearing on the issue last week, Supreme Court Judge Qazi Faez Isa had said that he could not understand how some people would on their own try and watch blasphemous content on the Internet. He had also said that it was unfortunate that all Internet users were being penalized for the follies of a few who were seeking out pornographic content on the Internet. The Supreme Court judge had also said that YouTube was an informative and educative tool.

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Supreme Court Justice Qazi Faez Isa

 

Also on January 12, 2016, Google had announced that it was launched country-specific versions of YouTube for Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

The Ministry of Information Technology also said the video sharing website was unblocked after its localised versions were available in Pakistan.

Also read: ‘Country specific’ YouTube homepages available for Pakistani users

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