The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Thursday decided to lift the ban on the online game Player Unknown’s Battle Ground (PUBG) and live streaming application Bigo after meeting with representatives of both the companies.
In a statement regarding PUBG, the authority said that it had met with the legal representatives of the game.
"[The] representatives briefed the authority on the response to queries raised by PTA with respect to controls put in place to prevent misuse of the gaming platform," the statement said.
"The authority expressed its satisfaction on measures adopted so far and emphasised on continued engagement and a comprehensive control mechanism," it added.
The statement noted that the representatives welcomed the PTA’s feedback on the matter and assured them that their concerns would be addressed, urging the telecommunication authority to lift the ban.
"Keeping in view the positive engagement and response of the company, PTA has decided to unban PUBG," the statement said.
Press Release: A meeting was held between PTA and legal representatives of Proxima Beta Pte Ltd (PB).— PTA (@PTAofficialpk) July 30, 2020
Proxima Beta (PB) representatives briefed the Authority on response to queries raised by PTA with respect to controls put in place by PB to prevent misuse of the gaming platform pic.twitter.com/73hPJKLxKi
Minster for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry hailed the decision and called it a "sane approach".
"[A] ban is an extreme measure, which must be taken very carefully," he said, adding that the Ministry of Science was of the opinion that Pakistan must work closely with tech companies to the resolve issues.
To end ban on #pubgbaninpakistan is a sane approach, Ban is an extreme measure must be very careful in future , @MinistryofST is very clear that Pakistan must work closely with Tech companies to resolve issues and must not use admin’s measures such as ban in such cases https://t.co/n4yRJvbaj1— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) July 30, 2020
In a separate statement, the PTA announced unbanning the services of Bigo in the country.
"Bigo management assured continued engagement with PTA to address the issue of unlawful content," the statement said.
The PTA had banned PUBG on June 1, citing several complaints about it being "addictive", a waste of time and its potential negative impact on children's physical and psychological health.
Last week, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had nullified the authority’s move and directed it to immediately lift the ban.
However, the PTA had refused to review its decision and had issued a detailed explanation.
The authority said it had come across various studies, papers and reports regarding the impact of internet games, specifically PUBG, on the mental as well as physical health of the players.
Besides violence and addiction, it said PUBG reduced the productivity of people.
The PTA had said it considered it “necessary” to block PUBG in the interest of public order.
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