Did the new IT Minister really threaten to ban Google in Pakistan?

Taking advantage of blasphemous material on YouTube, getting it banned in Pakistan, might be a conspiracy against us?

Parvez Iftikhar June 14, 2013
There is a lot of hype on the social media about a report that the new Minister of State for IT, Anusha Rahman Khan, allegedly threatened that Google will be banned if it does not remove the blasphemous videos from Google-owned YouTube.

Well, I am not a journalist but as a concerned ICT professional, I tried to authenticate this news from different sources. So far I have not been able to find any confirmation.

However an outright denial is also missing. But to be fair, the little that I know of the Minister (and I must admit that it is very little), I don’t think she could have said something like that.

Either she has been misquoted or quoted completely out of context. Otherwise her very first tweet after taking office (June 8, 2013) would not be:

https://twitter.com/anusha_rahman/status/343283648465874944

Ever since the report has surfaced, she has tweeted several times:

https://twitter.com/anusha_rahman/status/343600189573042177

As someone who has been in the ICT field, the Minister surely knows that if there is anyone who is getting hurt with the ban on YouTube, it is us, Pakistanis. Normally our country is full of conspiracy theories, but strangely no one seems to have thought that taking advantage of blasphemous material on YouTube, getting it banned in Pakistan, might be a conspiracy against us?

After all who, except our enemies, would benefit from keeping us away from all the information and knowledge?

For those who think YouTube is just a collection of short entertainment video clips, it has much more to offer, including hundreds of thousands of hours of educational and training videos, with many more being added every minute.

Just the number of educational videos of Khan Academy is over 3,000, teaching everything from arithmetic to physics.

Blocking Google is even more unthinkable.

We all know that for any knowledge-enhancing activity nowadays, Google is of paramount importance. It has become so ingrained in our everyday activities that even if we want to, we cannot block it out of our lives.

Initially Google was just a search engine, but now it has a large number of other services/applications/tools, like Google Maps, Google Earth, Google Translate, Google Books, Google Patent Search, Google Analytics and so on - I counted up to 40 and stopped.

It is next to impossible to do any academic work – especially related to ICTs - without touching Google in one way or the other. No wonder youngsters refer to it as “Google-baba” or “Google- guru” etc.

Let us hope and pray that the right solution is found, as the Minister tweeted on the second day in office:

https://twitter.com/anusha_rahman/status/343603866845188096

Read more by Pervez here or follow him on Twitter  @Parvez_Iftikhar
WRITTEN BY:
Parvez Iftikhar Former CEO of the Universal Service Fund (Pakistan), he works as an Information and Communication Technology Consultant in various countries in Asia and Africa on ICT regulatory issues. Before USF he was country-head of Siemens Telecom in Pakistan. He tweets @Parvez_Iftikhar https://twitter.com/Parvez_Iftikhar
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

COMMENTS (35)

Abdullah | 7 years ago | Reply What utter nonsense, but then again i expected nothing else from Nawaz sharif's goverment, coming up with bullcrap is their forte after all.
haris | 7 years ago | Reply As Umair sums it up nicely ^Those who want to see will see it!^ i think any muslim would never want to see any blasphemous content related to Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) cuz that in itself would be a sin and although i am not a good muslim but it will behoove me to do any such thing BIG TIME so anyone 'wanting to see it' will most probably be a non muslim or he himself will be a blasphemer. Its finally up to our will and merely wanting to see the blaspheme content itself tantamount to a sin let alone you specifically search for it.
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