Momentary bliss: PTA denies lifting YouTube ban

Published: December 4, 2012

PTA cannot open the website without instructions from MoIT. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

The thrill and excitement over the lifting of the blanket ban on YouTube in Pakistan was short-lived on Monday as the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) hastily announced that the ban on the video- sharing website was still effectively in place.

“YouTube remains blocked. No instructions from government to open it,” said PTA Chairmain Farooq Awan, adding that the telecom authority never instructed any services and operators to allow access to the video-sharing website that was blocked over an anti-Islam film over three months ago.

“Until the video is removed, Youtube cannot be restored,” said an official of the Ministry of Information Technology (MoIT), referring to an earlier Pakistani government request to Google, who refused to remove the divisive video clip from YouTube.

He added that PTA cannot open the website without instructions from MoIT.

However, the video-sharing website could be accessed on some service providers in various parts of the country momentarily on Monday, leading certain media outlets to mistakenly report that the YouTube ban had officially been lifted.

“It was highly irresponsible (of the service providers). We have initiated an inquiry into the incident … let’s wait for the outcome,” said Awan, adding that PTA never allowed or instructed any service provider to allow access in any capacity.

Another PTA official said YouTube could only be allowed access in Pakistan on the government’s clear instructions. Earlier, an MoIT official told The Express Tribune that Google Inc had asked the government of Pakistan to sign the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) agreement before they consider any requests for removal of video clips.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 4th, 2012.

Reader Comments (17)

  • Clear Black Bag
    Dec 4, 2012 - 10:14AM

    Rehman Malik is fond of blocking mobile phones services and banning motorbike riding and pillion riding and PTA is fond of blocking social websites and one thing is similar in Rehman Malik and PTA,id est,both don’t have permanent solutions for the problems and terrorism and both take temporary steps to control/overcome blasphemy,terrorism and difficulties and as a consequence of these temporary steps only nation’s lives are disturbed and the real culprits enjoy free lives…..

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  • Mudassar Hussain
    Dec 4, 2012 - 10:49AM

    *They Should remove the ban from website, YouTube And block those Videos! So no one can access to those videos .. Every country in the middle east has done the same thing…..

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  • Anonymous
    Dec 4, 2012 - 12:47PM

    wow great work pta.better block the whole internet and relax and let the people suffer your non serious attitude.

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  • Anonymous
    Dec 4, 2012 - 12:49PM

    wow great work pta.better block the whole internet and relax and let the people suffer your non serious attitude.Recommend

  • Anonymous
    Dec 4, 2012 - 2:18PM

    Proxy servers can be used to watch anything on Youtube or any other site. So really, what is the point of this charade.

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  • Hina
    Dec 4, 2012 - 6:18PM

    Whats the point of all this? we are accessing youtube from proxy servers.The only problem we are facing is that it slows down the whole system .banning something cant be totally blocked in the century we are in. Im a media student and im facing a big loss just due to this stupid ban. i need my reference videos my education and important material from youtube.no wonder why the education rate is so low .no one cares. just STOP blocking things for fun! no one has seen the movie i guess u just carry out on things heard from others.just IGNORE as ignorance is the best punishment.This will happen every year again and again .how many times will u make US suffer!!!!!! STOP and get REAL!!

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  • Hina
    Dec 4, 2012 - 6:19PM

    Whats the point of all this? we are accessing youtube from proxy servers.The only problem we are facing is that it slows down the whole system .banning something cant be totally blocked in the century we are in. Im a media student and im facing a big loss just due to this stupid ban. i need my reference videos my education and important material from youtube.no wonder why the education rate is so low .no one cares. just STOP blocking things for fun! no one has seen the movie i guess u just carry out on things heard from others.just IGNORE as ignorance is the best punishment.This will happen every year again and again .how many times will u make US suffer!!!!!! STOP and get REAL!!

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  • waleed
    Dec 4, 2012 - 9:06PM

    We Request to Lift the ban from youtube! Just Block those links anti-islamic videos! as done in every muslim country! why pakistan is always the foolest stuff in these matters?
    Hope youtube will be able to access openly upto 10th of december!

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  • Asim
    Dec 5, 2012 - 10:14AM

    really really great work PTA. infect hats off PTA for this good work. being Muslim we should not only hate such videos but should stand against such sites and blog who promote such things…

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  • Dec 5, 2012 - 5:34PM

    Why? Because we had all been barred entry to Pakistan’s most important cultural museum – YouTube.

    There are many other, more articulate and better referenced arguments on why the YouTube ban is a travesty/farce/embarrassment. Most arguments also segue into the question of blasphemy, and whether one poorly made film should even be given this much attention.

    As if these were the reasons for the ban.

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  • Sohaib Ikram
    Dec 5, 2012 - 10:15PM

    When I first heard that YouTube had been blocked in Pakistan because a video had been posted on it that disrespected our Holy Prophet (s), I was happy. I thought that the government has finally taken a good step in showing the world that we will not take any kind of blasphemy from anyone regarding our religion.
    But it’s been a long time now, and this is getting slightly ridiculous. Banning an entire website for one video is not appropriate. Why doesn’t the government block Facebook too then? It does have pages that are anti-Islam?
    My point is that banning YouTube is not the answer to this issue.
    Many countries in the world have restricted access to certain videos of YouTube that offend them. In doing so, they have proven that while they do care about their beliefs, they aren’t dumb enough to block a website that has so many benefits.
    And even if thats not possible, why doesn’t the government try to negotiate with the owners of YouTube? Or for that matter, the person who created the video?
    When this all happened, the issue was raised to a huge level. But where did it go?
    When we raised our voices, we forced the government of USA to make a statement saying that they had no part in the making of this video and they strongly condemn it.
    THaT us what we want. We want people to know what is happening.
    And I don’t mean having more riots that destroy our own country
    I’m saying we need a petition, sanctioned by the government of Pakistan
    No one can say no to the voice of the people
    We need to show everyone that while we do want YouTube back, we will not stand for blasphemy. Because it is disrespectful. And we need to show them that we are a religion of peace. We want to represent Islam for the religion that it ACTUALLY is. We need to show everyone that Muslims, like any other religious group in the world, has solid beliefs that need to be respected.
    We need to show them the truth about Islam, and the truth about the people of Pakistan who care.

    If anyone who has some kind of authority is reading this, I beg you to help us. Portray Islam for what it is. It is a religion of peace and tolerance. Portray Pakistani people for who they are, loving, open hearted, hard working and sincere. Pease fight the image that our country has in the eyes of the rest of the world. We are not savages. We are not terrorists.
    We are Muslims. And we are Pakistanis.
    Sincerely, A Proud PakistaniRecommend

  • Dec 5, 2012 - 10:34PM

    hate u youtube

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  • Toufique Ahmed
    Dec 7, 2012 - 11:26PM

    Its really a great job of PTA.

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  • maha
    Dec 8, 2012 - 11:29PM

    They Should remove the ban from utube, YouTube And block those Videos!

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  • James
    Dec 9, 2012 - 4:20AM

    I’m not even Muslim then why do I have to suffer?

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  • Abido
    Dec 11, 2012 - 11:23PM

    If all muslim countries unite and totally ban this website for 2 to 3 months then there can be a possibility that youtube has some loss,so that they are compelled to remove the video.And this is surely not the case,some have blocked the whole site,some have blocked the movie and some are least bothered about this matter.I request youtube to remove it because the video may have had been within in the limits laid by the site,however, something which has trigerred widespread violence across the globe is certainly not within the limits of law of humanity.I request every muslim government to stand up and do something as meeting alone with people and discussing the issue will not do anything in front of people who give a humorous excuse that ”We have freedom of speech”, rather “Persistence” and a “Decisive” action will have some good outcome.
    LETS EMBRACE PEACE MEN!!

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  • haroon
    Dec 15, 2012 - 8:39AM

    I think the film is just a pretext. Youtube is only blocked in Pakistan (to the best of my knowledge), and I base my assumption on the fact that I could access Youtube even in Saudi Arabia. Youtube was becoming a good tool to expose the corruption and deception of the government of Pakistan and Media. So blocking it in the name of religion may have been an easy way out.

    Conspiracy Theory!! — cant help it when you are living among deceivers.

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