ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Information Technology (MoIT) has apparently decided to shelve its plans to install a massive URL blocking system.
The MoIT, through its research arm, the National Information & Communication Technology Research and Development Fund had thorough a public advertisement on February 23, 2012, sought bids for a system that “should be able to handle a block list of up to 50 million URLs with a processing delay of not more than 1 millisecond.”
On Monday, Member National Assembly Bushra Gohar confirmed to The Express Tribune that the MoIT had decided to reverse its decision. “Secretary IT Farooq Ahmed Awan said to me that the URL project has been withdrawn due to the concern shown by various stakeholders,” the legislator from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa said.
Welcoming the move, Gohar said that she would ask Secretary IT to launch an inquiry against those posted the advertisement without proper consultation.
Meanwhile, the MoIT has neither confirmed nor denied the report. Naseem Akhter Bhatti, the MoIT spokesperson, said that the ministry was not the only stakeholder, and that Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) too was a stakeholder. A statement over the project will be issued tomorrow.
The PTA had earlier stated its determination in taking steps that blocked “blasphemous and objectionable content.” PTA sources had said last week that, being the telecom regulator in the country, they would implement policies to block websites with “blasphemous, un-Islamic, offensive, objectionable, unethical, and immoral material,” as per their mandate, and or per instructions from the government.