Popular video-sharing website YouTube will not be unblocked anytime soon, says a report by ProPakistani.com.
In an interview with ProPakistani, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and Ministry of Information and Technology officials were determined not to unblock YouTube unless Google decides to take the anti-Islam video offline – internationally or at least in Pakistan – since the decision was covered by a court order.
YouTube, owned by IT giant Google, had been blocked in Pakistan after the release of an anti-Islam film’s trailer on the site. The site had been blocked in other countries including Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
Despite requests by the Pakistani government and concerned authorities to block the video or pull it down, Google did not comply and the video-sharing site has been blocked for almost three weeks now.
However, Google had blocked the video in Malaysia, Indonesia, Libya, Egypt and India.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a PTA official said that that procedures were initiated to get the video blocked in Pakistan, but YouTube did not respond as Pakistan has no legal control over the company.
Responding to a question regarding whether MLAT (Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty) – an agreement between two countries for gathering, exchanging and enforcing public and criminal laws – was an obstacle in the issue because Pakistan had not signed MLAT with USA, the PTA officials explained that USA does not have MLAT with either Libya, Indonesia or Singapore too, but Google had blocked the video due to US government pressure or on-ground offices in those states.
PTA officials added that countries, where Google has its physical presence or has infrastructure (datacenters) in place, were in a better position to get the video blocked.
“Unlike Google, Facebook had removed the blasphemous content from its website for users in Pakistan and was hence unblocked after two weeks in 2010. Google, however, has decided otherwise and this is why it will remain blocked until it acts,” the official said.
PTA officials cautioned that if Google wanted to retain its customers in Pakistan, then it will have to act sensibly and comply with the government’s request.
An IT ministry official said that the prime minister would not order the restoration of YouTube until the anti-Islam video was blocked in Pakistan as well.
The ban has disrupted other Google services as well, causing serious issues for individuals and businesses in the country.
Android, Google’s mobile operating system, has been affected so much so that almost no service, including Gmail, Maps, Contact Sync, Play Store, was functional, making all Android devices almost useless.