Govt blocks YouTube, again

Published: December 29, 2012

PM Ashraf issues blocking orders briefly after the website was restored today. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: After its brief restoration, video-sharing web portal YouTube was blocked again on the orders of Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Express News reported on Saturday.

“The prime minister has issued orders to block YouTube again,” a senior official in Ashraf’s office told AFP, declining to provide more detail or a reason for the decision.

Earlier, the government had ordered internet service providers (ISP) across the country to unblock it.

The notification for unblocking the website was issued by Assistant Director (Enforcement) Ali Waqas Raza to all ISPs across the country.

He requested the ISPs to “immediately unblock/restore complete YouTube website provisionally till further orders” and called for submission of compliance through email by 3pm.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Twitter that the decision to allow access was due to huge public demand, and that the telecom regulator would install a firewall to maintain a block on unseemly content.

“There was a great demand to unblock YouTube from all sections of society… expect the notification today,” Malik said.

“PTA is finalising negotiations for acquiring a powerful firewall software to totally block pornographic and blasphemous material,” he added.

The Internet Service Providers Association of Pakistan (ISPAK) confirmed they have also received the notification and welcomed the announcement.

ISPAK Convener Wahajus Siraj told AFP that when the ban first came into force, Internet video traffic in Pakistan plummeted by up to 30 percent.

“It is a good development because many people, especially students and institutions, were using YouTube for education, and were facing difficulties as alternate websites were not as good,” he said.

Earlier, Ministry of Information Technology (MoIT) officials told The Express Tribune that at least two stakeholders, the interior minister and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) recommended that the prime minister reopen the website.

The official said that Rehman Malik was most insistent on YouTube’s restoration. He met with the PTA officials on Friday and tweeted about the restoration of the website hours later.

The government had banned YouTube on September 17 to block access to blasphemous film Innocence of Muslims after violent protests erupted across the Muslim world.

Nationwide protests ensued on September 21, claiming 26 lives, wounding 200 people and causing massive financial damage across the country.

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Reader Comments (58)

  • sabi
    Dec 29, 2012 - 3:10PM

    That proves; Don’t start a war you can’t win.

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  • Morons
    Dec 29, 2012 - 3:28PM

    Yeah!! Its working!! Cheers everyone.

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  • faisal
    Dec 29, 2012 - 3:58PM

    Youtube is totally unislamic how can the government act against islam?

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  • iconoclast
    Dec 29, 2012 - 4:02PM

    its still not working ???

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  • aftab
    Dec 29, 2012 - 4:10PM

    good decision…Recommend

  • Nawaz
    Dec 29, 2012 - 4:11PM

    It is strange that when it comes to YouTube Mr. MALIK can push through the removal of the ban within 24 hours but when it is about International Clearing House and removing the illegal tax being collected on international calls, Mr Malik, PTA or the government have not done anything more thsn two months after LHC issued the ruling.

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  • ali
    Dec 29, 2012 - 4:36PM

    woooowwooowo…..what was it again????

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  • Khan of Cape Town
    Dec 29, 2012 - 4:44PM

    And, Raja Pervez again bans the evil network.Recommend

  • PakPower
    Dec 29, 2012 - 4:52PM

    Youtube to be blocked again – PM Ashraf

    Seriously, like seriously?

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  • Anonymous
    Dec 29, 2012 - 4:59PM

    Is it blocked again?

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  • Syed Hasan Atizaz
    Dec 29, 2012 - 5:01PM

    finally!!

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  • jiyala
    Dec 29, 2012 - 5:18PM

    Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnd it’s gone.

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  • Nadeem Afzal
    Dec 29, 2012 - 5:25PM

    That is a sane move by PM Ashraf, we must not back from the collective stance this state has taken against the blasphemous movie by allowing the mass majority access to it inside Pakistan. Those arguing for Youtube’s restoration should see the stubbornness of Youtube administration as well.

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  • N. Bano
    Dec 29, 2012 - 5:27PM

    Good decision by Prime Minister Raja P. Ashraf. :)

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  • N. Bano
    Dec 29, 2012 - 5:27PM

    Good decision by PM Raja Parvez Ashraf.

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  • tttt
    Dec 29, 2012 - 5:47PM

    PM Ashraf to #Youtubers., “KAISA DIYA” :D

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  • Mj
    Dec 29, 2012 - 6:04PM

    It’s like giving chocolate to a child and taking it away before the first bite.

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  • Pakistani
    Dec 29, 2012 - 6:17PM

    Perfect Decision

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  • pak zindabad
    Dec 29, 2012 - 6:19PM

    confuse pakistani leaders…..?

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  • Waqas
    Dec 29, 2012 - 6:21PM

    Its blocked again but i have seen one video . yaaaaaaaaaaa :)

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  • Annoyed
    Dec 29, 2012 - 6:27PM

    I’m sorry, but this is ridiculous. If they think google will remove that video, they’re dreaming. They won’t remove it because it would be against the Americans first amendment (“Freedom of speech”). So to be honest, there is really no point in blocking youtube as it hardly makes any difference to google, the only thing that happens is that you have a load of annoyed Pakistanis.

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  • Thor
    Dec 29, 2012 - 6:28PM

    Do we have so incompetent I.T people that they cant filter out anti-islamic stuff? like seriously?

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  • J T
    Dec 29, 2012 - 6:29PM

    To those people cheering the re-blocking of youtube, I hope you all are also voluntarily going to stop using Facebook, Google, Twitter, and well, the entire Internet since all of these also offer potential access to so-called “blasphemous” material. And while you are at it, also stop using all those modern conveniences that are unislamic, i.e., things that didn’t exist prior to 610 AD. Thank you. All this reminds me of the Bubble boy.Recommend

  • Ayesha Bhaalay
    Dec 29, 2012 - 6:33PM

    This ban again is just ridiculous. I wish our PM at least used the internet regularly to know what Internet bans mean. Censoring doesn’t give respect to your cause or religion. The west still laughs at us for a lot of other stuff (Hey, you blocked their videos but you still beg them for money to run our country – Hypocrisy eh?).

    If you want people to respect our religion, you have to eliminate things that give bad name to islam, suicide-bombing for instance, Taliban for instance. Banning youtube videos fixes nothing.
    It just makes life difficult for those who have to rely on youtube educational videos, work related videos etc. Then again, I’m sure no one in the current government is smart enough to point that out Mr. Prime Minister.

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  • Ammar
    Dec 29, 2012 - 6:34PM

    Feels like We Pakistanis are destined to live in Stone Age till the time We continue to choose such loosers. Thanks God! the advisor didn’t advise him to block the Internet otherwise blocking that specific link on YouTube was enough

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  • afzaalkhan
    Dec 29, 2012 - 6:37PM

    @Nadeem Afzal

    You can always choose not to watch, no? Why state should protect you from content that originates outside the country? and before you label me liberal im as right wing as they come :)

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  • mahi
    Dec 29, 2012 - 6:56PM

    The government cannot frame rules, regulations, laws and policies to filter objectionable and blasphemous material/content from you tube, which is why all it can do is block you tube at the expense of the students education and well being which shows that the government is not capable enough to handle issues without causing inconvenience to others … whereas that particular link to the blasphemous movie could have simply been blocked with ease without having to disturb the people.

    Threats milein tho mobile service off…blasphemous movie chaley tho.. you tube off!!!.

    Is this the way these matters are to be dealt with??? why don’t they hire a competent team to handle such issues in the best interest of the country.

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  • Alimuddin
    Dec 29, 2012 - 6:59PM

    Thank you Ansar Abbasi! He came on his channel and exclaimed that the blasphemous video is still there!!!!! And a few mins later, YouTube was banned again.

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  • Saleem
    Dec 29, 2012 - 7:04PM

    Block everything. Import camels from saudi to ride and live in caves. Welcome to the glorious 7th century a golden age.

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  • Dec 29, 2012 - 7:06PM

    what is this happening in Pakistan?

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  • Bewildered
    Dec 29, 2012 - 7:13PM

    Youtube as well as Google both sites should be totally banned in Pakistan for their arrogance and utter disregard for Pakistani people’s sensitivities. Youtube is currently the world’s biggest “Adult” content hosting website, while Google is effectively engaged in spying on every internet user and a serious threat to individual privacy.

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  • Kaalchakra
    Dec 29, 2012 - 7:17PM

    afzaalkhan, you may be rightwing but you are not right. You don’t let poison lying around in your house, saying let people not eat it if they don’t want to. Some things you have to control.

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  • Analyzer
    Dec 29, 2012 - 7:18PM

    Just for that, PPP is not gonna get my vote next time!

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  • Dec 29, 2012 - 7:23PM

    Did Rehman baba talk to Raja ji before unblocking? If not then it gives you scary indicator of the way decisions are made in pak govt.

    Raja ji should block twitter just annoy rehman baba.

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  • Wow....justWow
    Dec 29, 2012 - 7:25PM

    For all those praising the decision to block yet again please do let me and the others know what “damage” we are causing google by having youtube blocked?
    And are you gullible enough to think that we are not currently using alternate means to watch youtube? Grow up please this is the age of information and censorship can and never will work, please realise this fact

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  • Rationalist
    Dec 29, 2012 - 7:44PM

    According to logic of those who support the ban, whole internet can be banned.
    Or atleast google because it also shows blasphamous material in search results.

    But wait, where is the common sense?

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  • Suhaib
    Dec 29, 2012 - 7:45PM

    In a country where there’s no gas to cook or take a warm shower, cng lines are never ending, and electricity is a luxury, the leaders prioritise petty issues like YouTube, and it seems like people are happy with this decision. I’d say wake up, but then again, it seems like we don’t want to.

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  • atif
    Dec 29, 2012 - 7:58PM

    Just block the objectionable materials, there is a lot of useful information available on youtube. Seriously, Government of Pakistan – focus of feeding and educating the poor and countering the terrorists you helped create.

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  • afzaalkhan
    Dec 29, 2012 - 8:30PM

    @Kaalchakra

    Your analogy is wrong. But lets use ur analogy anyway. So poison lying in the house should be secured so others accidentally don’t consume it. Using ur analogy u agree that condition for securing the poison is to have physical access to poison. Now since content and hosting servers are not in the physical reach of the govt of Pak they have no ways to secure the “poison” hence they are not obliged.

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  • sanwal
    Dec 29, 2012 - 8:32PM

    that is ultimate troll thing to do… making people excited ..
    Good play PM, Good Play ….

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  • TTV
    Dec 29, 2012 - 8:39PM

    I once saw a child throw a tomato at his friend during the Friday jamaat at a mosque. Can we ban the production and sale of tomatoes too?

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  • Humma
    Dec 29, 2012 - 8:51PM

    Open yoytube on gurantee that they will recruit 1000 pak graduates in there company as it is billion dollar company. Hundreds of Indian working in youtube development.

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  • Arman
    Dec 29, 2012 - 8:51PM

    The ban is/was fundamentally ridiculous in a global context but completely in line with what we as a people and as a country want to do with ourselves.
    There is, however, no loss to us from this ban. I say that we keep it banned. Most have forgotten about the site or know how to still access it.
    We are only reminded about it when are genius minister brings it up.
    KEEP IT CLOSED, SOLVE REAL ISSUES FIRST.

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  • Ehsan
    Dec 29, 2012 - 9:06PM

    What a lame, why in world we need to block youtube. why we can not just limit the search queries. This is another example of the good governess. Thumbs up you idiot PM. Great wizdom you brought to this stupid, good for nothing ( JIALAS of PPP & PML N,Q). I pray Allah Guide us to the Right way.

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  • Ammar
    Dec 29, 2012 - 9:17PM

    @ Bewildered

    You are seriously mistaken about YouTube and Google, if your comments are not biased due to some reason.

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  • Kamran Chatha
    Dec 29, 2012 - 9:21PM

    Well if it was to be reblovked then why unblocked? I would say it is govt. way for hitting the social media by bringing the attention on this confusing fact and they wish to hide more important matters. Instead of arguing on this we mus think what does government not want us to think about!!

    Think about it!

    Malala?
    Drone attacks?
    Cia suiside bombing?
    Incompetence of government?
    Poisonous medication?
    Fiscal policies?
    Trade deficit?

    Lets discuss all this and not ponder on their meaningless and stupid acts. For all the curious out their there are hundreds of ways to go through PRA’s firewall
    Hotspot shield
    Spot flux
    Changing IP’s

    Etc…

    Think think and think!

    Cheers!

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  • pak zindabad
    Dec 29, 2012 - 9:22PM

    dont search blasphemous material,type a stuff you want to see,its up to…if you want to become a real super hero of islam search a group who made that movie..banning a youtube its not a big deal,,,,

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  • Anonymous
    Dec 29, 2012 - 9:44PM

    agar nahi open karni to bar bar open karna ki khabar na doRecommend

  • Ali S
    Dec 29, 2012 - 11:41PM

    In other Muslim countries, including Saudi and the Middle East, the governments had successfully requested YouTube to take down the videos in question. This just proves that our actions have led the world to think of Pakistan as a sick, perverted joke. And no, this ban isn’t going to even make a ripple in YouTube’s finances you thickos.

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  • Abbas
    Dec 29, 2012 - 11:42PM

    @Saleem

    so youtube is fine line between being in a modern world or stone age??? its strange to what priorities have we developed for ourselves. Call me to join your cause when wikpedia gets blocked.

    BTW, in Saudi, people can open youtube, and living a peaceful & prosperous UPS free life. welcome to the real world.

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  • Huma Shah
    Dec 30, 2012 - 2:05AM

    Mr. Annoyed, Youtube had taken off the blasphemous video in other states of the world, then why not the same is done in Pakistan? It was reported the government is getting Youtube to block the video in Pakistan but Google seems to be delaying it, so if you Youtube doesn’t care about you, why should you, with no self-respect, care about Youtube so much?Recommend

  • sattar rind
    Dec 30, 2012 - 2:34AM

    what a joke… they are become controller of free will

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  • Dec 30, 2012 - 2:49AM

    @faisal:
    what about the media in pakistan..

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  • Clear Black Bag
    Dec 30, 2012 - 11:05AM

    @faisal:Youtube is totally unislamic
    Is Pakistani government doing Islamic activities in Pakistan and what about Facebook,Twitter and Google?Highly respected sir negative and positive usage of any thing and any technology is always in your hands because with every thing there is a user’s manual for positive and safe usage.for instance,
    1-Mobiles are sometimes misused by making movies for blackmailing.Does it mean that mobiles have to be blocked/ended in Pakistan forever?
    2-Satellite technologies and computers are misused sometimes.Does it mean that satellite technologies and computers have to be blocked in Pakistan?
    3-Weapons/missiles/bombs sometimes are used for killings the innocent and sinless people and sometimes are used for security and protection for the innocent and sinless people.Does it mean that weapons/missiles/bombs should be ended in Pakistan?
    4-TV is also misused sometimes by watching xmovies.Does it mean that TV has to be banned in Pakistan?
    And as far as this stance is concerned “how can the government act against islam?” then would you like to explain that till now how many times Pakistani government has applied Islamic laws in Pakistan or how many times our leaders have implemented Islamic laws on themselves?

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  • skeptical guy
    Dec 30, 2012 - 1:40PM

    i don’t understand if someone doesn’t want to watch anti islam film. . Why they search it? ? Why mullas want utube be banned? Are they afraid they’ll end up watching that blasphemous video? Ban on youtube is absurd itslef! Govt also want to take advantage by keeping masses ignorant of other important issues on youtube and in their offices (corruption and other evils)

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  • amazing nation we are....!!!
    Dec 30, 2012 - 1:48PM

    @Huma Shah:
    Problem which nobody understands….is simple…
    Pakistan is using the basic web portal in use in USA itself…i.e. plain old http://www.youtube.com rather than youtube.com.pk
    so essentially it is US site with US laws of freedom of speech governing it…..
    it is not stubbornness of YouTube but simple laws of USA…..
    on the other hand…..
    The countries which have banned the specific videos on YouTube…have dedicated portals of their own country…
    for Pakistan to block videos selectively we have to work and coordinate with YouTube, cajole them to invest and provide them infrastructure in the bargain….just like other counties do….and then come up with a dedicated Pakistani portal of http://www.youtube.com.pk under auspices of YouTube itself….simple,….have you seen any statement in this regard by IT ministry.????….no…!!!!
    even India has http://www.youtube.co.in/

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  • A Khan
    Dec 30, 2012 - 6:11PM

    @Huma Shah: Youtube does not block videos for individual states as that would be censorship.
    Pakistani public is extremely naive in thinking that Youtube will block blasphemous material at their behest because firstly they would have to police as to what constitutes blasphemy. If you don’t like something, don’t watch it. It’s very simple.

    @faisal: Corruption is also unislamic and destroying our society more than Youtube. Has the government taken any action apart from increasing it to unprecedented levels ?

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  • Whatever
    Feb 11, 2013 - 12:34AM

    Banana republic congrats

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