IT Minister plans to ban 'objectionable content' across entire internet

Published: August 5, 2013
YouTube has been banned in Pakistan since September 2012. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

YouTube has been banned in Pakistan since September 2012. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE


Minister of State for Information Technology Anusha Rehman said on Monday that efforts were being made to develop a software for removing objectionable content from across the internet so that the ban on YouTube could be lifted.

Talking to the press in Islamabad, Rehman said that the ban on the video-sharing website would be lifted once all objectionable content on YouTube is blocked, along with all objectionable content worldwide.

“Over 2,700 objectionable websites have already been blocked,” she added.

Rehman explained that the task of filtering objectionable content was difficult as it involved manually blocking every website, adding that there was a need for a software that could block such content automatically.

She added that Google was not cooperating with Pakistan in the matter. The minister said that there was no particular timeline for the YouTube ban being lifted.

She said that YouTube was blocked on the orders of the Supreme Court, and the decision to lift the ban would be taken by the Inter-Ministerial Committee which was being given technical assistance by the Information Ministry.

The site was blocked across Pakistan on September 17, 2012, in response to protests against a video titled “Innocence of Muslims”.


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Reader Comments (68)

  • Aug 5, 2013 - 6:07PM

    YouTube was blocked on the orders of the Supreme Court and the decision to lift the ban would be taken by the Inter-Ministerial Committee

    If YouTube was blocked by the Supreme Court then how can a cabinet-level committee unblock it?

    If I’m not wrong, it requires a constitutional amendment to overturn a Supreme Court judgement!


  • Aug 5, 2013 - 6:07PM

    If you don’t want to watch objectionable content, just don’t watch it. It is simple as that.


  • XR
    Aug 5, 2013 - 6:08PM

    We are Pakistani’s!!
    Instead of facing problems head on we choose to close our eyes, hide in a corner humming to our selves that the problem isn’t there.
    proxies ftw


  • Najeebullah
    Aug 5, 2013 - 6:08PM

    Anusha Rehman “SHAME ON YOU”


  • Hawkguy
    Aug 5, 2013 - 6:11PM

    You can never “control” the internet in terms of content. It’s just plain stupid.


  • M I Khan
    Aug 5, 2013 - 6:26PM

    I am very sure, our future generations will be ashamed of us for being so stupid! Why can’t we just not watch something that we don’t like instead of blocking the whole nation from such a great source of information? SHAME on all those who are doing everything to prove that Pakistanis are nuts!


  • Thor
    Aug 5, 2013 - 6:28PM

    YouTub­e to be unbloc­ked once Intern­et is free of unwant­ed conten­t.
    Since dawn of time, wrong things or unwanted things has been there since time of adam and eve and will remain until the end of time. you can’t control unwanted or what you don’t like things in your manner. Its funny to note, Pakistan is the only Muslim state banning YouTube while a state where Madina and Makkah is, the house of Allah, no YouTube ban. so are we better muslims than them?


  • Oh really?
    Aug 5, 2013 - 6:37PM

    How do you delete content from a website without being an admin? They’re Just wasting time to fill their own pockets. Why not give people the choice to view what the want or apply a filter for such said “objectionable content” like the U.K?


  • AluChat
    Aug 5, 2013 - 6:38PM

    Is this lady qualified enough to be entrusted with this responsibility? Please do not say that previous governments has appointed ministers with no background in the portfolios that they were handling because two wrongs do not make a right.


  • LUMS
    Aug 5, 2013 - 6:39PM

    Why do we get PAINDOOOs as our State Ministers :(


  • Nemsis
    Aug 5, 2013 - 6:42PM

    “developing software to remove content from internet.”
    This shows the level of the so called IT minister, I mean can people be any more dumb n stupid.

    No one can control the Internet or ban, people can still get access using free VPN’s like Hotspot shield or Tor. Why can’t these retards understand this simple thing.


  • amk
    Aug 5, 2013 - 6:44PM

    I don’t understand how this can ever be resolved, there are hundreds of thousands of videos added everyday, i am sure some of them are “objectionable” as well which means that we will never reach a point where we have blocked all objectionable content. This is plain stupid, if i want to watch something i still can, so why is there time and money wasted trying to block contents? Do we not trust our Muslim brothers and sisters to not watch objectionable content like “Innocence of Muslims” over and over again? That vidoe is not even worth watching, whatever the content of it might be, but because of our over-reaction we have made it a huge hit. And why is it Youtube’s fault anyways?


  • Sarfraz Khan
    Aug 5, 2013 - 6:45PM

    ban on the video-sharing website would be lifted once all objectionable content on YouTube is blocked, along with all objectionable content worldwide.

    She’s joking right? I could throw the entire IT policy of Pakistan into disarray by uploading a video on YouTube now.


  • unbelievable
    Aug 5, 2013 - 6:49PM

    Maybe you should try sticking you heads in the ground? – won’t have to make any tough decisions on what to watch and read like the rest of the adult world.


  • kaalchakra
    Aug 5, 2013 - 6:49PM

    This is a most commendable decision. The truth is that Pakistanis hardly miss anything as a result of this ban.


  • BrainDeadZombieFreedomFighters
    Aug 5, 2013 - 6:55PM

    All such objectionable Political Campaigns to malign politicians and wake the people up are meant to be removed. It takes time and effort. People need to be patient and withstand more such atrocities because if they got 5 years of it, so should them.


  • A J Khan
    Aug 5, 2013 - 6:57PM

    Moral policing by member of the clergy & courts have made the lives of everyone compliant to Mullah and courts. Today we are virtual slaves of these two communities. Both are in race to usurp the rights of the people. Why can’t people be trusted with their considered choices? If these checks were so effective, then children of Judges and Mullahs would have been angels.
    Those who cannot trust the nation with YouTube, should chop off all organs which can be used in immorality from the bodies of every citizen of Pakistan.


  • AK
    Aug 5, 2013 - 6:57PM

    Stupidity is just continue !


  • SKChadha
    Aug 5, 2013 - 7:01PM

    When mind shuts, the sight and sites also shut.


  • Sajid
    Aug 5, 2013 - 7:11PM

    Oooooops! i did it again


  • Rabia
    Aug 5, 2013 - 7:20PM

    and just who is to judge what is objectionable and what is not?! Come on, grow up!


  • bangash
    Aug 5, 2013 - 7:21PM

    The objectionable content was not loaded by Youtube itself but by private parties. Why is Youtube being penalized ? I think real reason YouTube is blocked is because politicians and gangsters have been caught and publicly shamed on YouTube.


  • mehboobBhai
    Aug 5, 2013 - 7:22PM

    In other words or actual meaning of her statements is :
    I don’t know how to handle the situation properly. I need to keep my politician lobby happy and this isn’t really one of our priorities to life ban on youtube. Me or my government doesn’t see any real benefit of my “party” in uplifting the ban, otherwise I would have done it the moment I was given charge. Let me try to give some senseless excuses. Please try to understand my situation.
    Thank you.


  • choptocut
    Aug 5, 2013 - 7:24PM

    wondering how such a person can become Information Tech minister !!!!


  • pulseller
    Aug 5, 2013 - 7:27PM

    Now, some might not know this, but the next step after ‘developing’ a software to ‘remove’ objectionable content from the internet is a software that removes objectionable content from peoples’ minds.

    it’s only a matter of time really. I fear Anusha Rehman!


  • It Is (still) Economy Stupid
    Aug 5, 2013 - 7:28PM

    Clueless in the land of pure.


  • M.
    Aug 5, 2013 - 7:30PM

    If her shenanigans continue, very soon, people in Pakistan will be deprived of Google as well. Or will they? Even the honourable IT minister would need Google, to work, so she might not ban it.


  • NR
    Aug 5, 2013 - 7:30PM

    Ban the whole damn fools….


  • doom
    Aug 5, 2013 - 7:46PM

    It sounds like the next five years will be spent blocking sites non-stop (since there will of course be an endless number of “objectionable sites” by somebody or the other’s definition of “objectionable”).

    This is instead of focusing on genuinely developing the IT and Comm. sector. Government time and resources well-spent.


  • Ali
    Aug 5, 2013 - 7:49PM

    This banned that banned ok. but when terrorists/suicide bomb/attack going to ban? does terrorist minister have any plan?


  • Proletarian
    Aug 5, 2013 - 7:56PM

    So i’m guessing all sites expressting the point of view of ‘subversive’ groups like athiests and shias are going to get banned


  • kumar
    Aug 5, 2013 - 8:04PM

    very good decision. less number of pakistanis browsing the net.the better for the world.


  • KAY
    Aug 5, 2013 - 8:10PM

    Dear Pakistanis say good bye to YouTube forever.


  • Tilsim
    Aug 5, 2013 - 8:17PM

    How many websites or web pages of Alqaeda, TTP, sectarian and similar extremists been blocked amongst the 2700 blocked so far?


  • A. Khan
    Aug 5, 2013 - 8:17PM

    I can’t wait for the honorable minister to eat her own words. Just this sweeping statement tells me this poor woman has no clue about how the internet works and therefore makes me wonder, why she is appointed as the relevant minister.


  • NotSoCommon
    Aug 5, 2013 - 8:36PM


    Please dont generalize your needs by the whole of Pakistan. You may not feel the need to educate yourself with the going-ons in the world but i am sure there are many in Pakistan who believe in it and are at a loss presently. Your mentality is the biggest issue in Pakistan, generalizing personal needs,thought, ideas and principles with the rest of the population and blatantly ignoring any that is different


  • Ahmed
    Aug 5, 2013 - 8:38PM

    Finally the internet will be exactly like it is suppose to be in an Islamic State..

    No porn. No more websites spreading secularism. No more websites leading people to hellfire.


  • Fawwad
    Aug 5, 2013 - 8:43PM

    So she means that youtube ban will never be lifted!!! What stupidity. They can never ban all “Objectionable” content.


  • ta
    Aug 5, 2013 - 8:45PM

    @kaalchakra: “This is a most commendable decision. The truth is that Pakistanis hardly miss anything as a result of this ban.”

    Yep and the world does not miss absence of Pakistanis from youtube either. Now our Bollywood youtube videos do not get littered with all kinds of unnecessary tu tu main main.

    Thank you Anusha. Keep this up.


  • Alina
    Aug 5, 2013 - 8:47PM

    Oh God! Why do we have such leaders? Even Bangladesh lifted the ban on Youtube! Indonesia, Malaysia, Qatar have no ban! Aren’t they muslims? Or Pakistanis are more Muslim. This is absurd. Lift the ban on youtube!Recommend

  • khan
    Aug 5, 2013 - 8:52PM

    what about proxy servers , hot spot shield etc. Nothing can be blocked I suppose if these persists.


  • BillGates
    Aug 5, 2013 - 9:03PM

    Good thing, Anusha Rehman is IT minister of an already failed state that doesn’t require much effort on her part to further destroy. Sifarshi people like her who don’t have basic understanding of how Internet works. It is the blind leading one-eyed nation.


  • Aug 5, 2013 - 9:04PM

    Instead of YouTube, I will start our own My Tube. All Pakistanis see My Tube.


  • Schmidt
    Aug 5, 2013 - 9:07PM

    “She added that Google was not cooperating with Pakistan in the matter”.


  • Syed
    Aug 5, 2013 - 9:09PM

    They have wasted months and millions on coming up with a “solution”. Why can’t they use filters like WebSense that corporations use world-wide to stop employees from visiting “bad” sites.


  • Zip
    Aug 5, 2013 - 9:15PM

    “YouTub­e to be unbloc­ked once Intern­et is free of unwant­ed conten­t.” This has got to be the funniest headline I’ve ever read. By the way, as an Indian, I totally support this move. I don’t want Pakistan to be corrupted by unwanted content.


  • M Ali Khan
    Aug 5, 2013 - 9:30PM

    of course. that’s the job of TTP’s media wing


  • Khan
    Aug 5, 2013 - 9:34PM

    90% comments on ET comes from india. Seems like they have nothing to do apart from commenting on every news story in Pakistan.


  • Syme
    Aug 5, 2013 - 9:49PM

    Why don’t you let us forget that youtube is banned? I am happy with hotspot sheild. At least I don’t care. I can watch whatever I want and I am not bothered by nanny state. Please don’t grill us every couple of weeks that you can’t unblock youtube.


  • Pashtunyar
    Aug 5, 2013 - 9:51PM

    To start with she should ban her own ridiculous statement!


  • Alam
    Aug 5, 2013 - 9:56PM

    Why not give chance to, Just give it few more months, you will be able to see all your required stuff on it.

    Please give it chance. I’m not affiliated with in any way.


  • Bilal Mirza
    Aug 5, 2013 - 9:58PM

    “all objectionable content worldwide”
    hahaha…That must be hilarious for everybody. Even a toddler shall laugh at her incompetence. Ironically, Lahore high court chief knew that we could not fight endless and “bey nateeja” battles.
    bravo Pakistan. We voted for these clueless people. Lets enjoy their silliness.


  • Gringott
    Aug 5, 2013 - 10:20PM

    “Objectionable Content” is just a pretext on which blanket censorship of the internet will be based on. Like that in North Korea, KSA, China etc. Another blow to Pakistan’s democratic dream. Whats Next? Banning Facebook & Twitter for good?


  • Naveed Lotia
    Aug 5, 2013 - 11:01PM

    Proof once again that the governments in Pakistan play to the gallery shamelessly, with little concern to the long term harm it does to State & Society. Really stupid decision making quite obvious here.


  • American Pakistani
    Aug 5, 2013 - 11:23PM

    Instead of using YouTube to:

    Document the tragedies of the drone strikes for the whole world to see.
    Show that Pakistani People are striving to improve themselves at all levels of society
    Display the marvels of visiting and spending money in Pakistan as a tourist destination
    Prove to the world the Democracy in Pakistan doesn’t have to look more and more like Russia or China everyday

    The Supreme Court, IT Departments and others wish to spend countless hours and resources to try and ban objectionable content across the ENTIRE INTERNET.


    Pakistan Zindabad ;-(.


  • A Pakistani
    Aug 6, 2013 - 12:09AM

    This is just a threat to Internet content providers.


  • FAC
    Aug 6, 2013 - 12:22AM

    Following is APP’s story which was changed by the Express Tribune and it gives some different meanings.

    Efforts being made to reopen Youtube: Anusha
    ISLAMABAD, Aug 5 (APP): Minister of State for Information Technology Mrs Anusha Rehman Khan on Monday said efforts were being made to develop technical solution for purging unwanted material from the Youtube so that it could be reopened. Talking to newsmen here, she said a team was working round the clock to block URLs containing blasphemous material and over 2700 URLs on Youtube had so far been blocked. She said the Youtube was closed in Pakistan on the orders of the then Prime Minster on the recommendations of the Inter-Ministeraial Committee comprising representatives from different ministries, law enforcement agencies and Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA).

    The Minister said in 2012 the Ministry of IT issued a directive to PTA to install state of the art filtration system for the purpose, but the directive was not implemented by the PTA.
    She said the Youtube would be reopened subject to installation of effective filtration system. However, she added, the mandate of reopening of Youtube is that of the Inter Ministerial Committee.
    The minister said Google was also not cooperating with Pakistan in this regard.
    She, however said, “No timeline could be given for the reopening of Youtube but we are working towards this goal.”


  • Arjun
    Aug 6, 2013 - 1:29AM

    along with all objectionable content worldwide.

    I don’t think worldwide means what you think it means…


  • Raisani
    Aug 6, 2013 - 2:48AM

    For this incredible act and statement , Anosha Rehman should be nominated for Microsoft Certified Professional Award. Please vote for her.


  • AR
    Aug 6, 2013 - 2:49AM

    Follow up question… How hard is it to literally lift a story from and not muck it up? how hard is it to do CTRL + C and CTRL + V without throwing in your biased opinions based in info provided your sell out buddies? Like exactly how hard.. cause apparently its harder than solving the issue of Kashmir


  • Aug 6, 2013 - 5:21AM

    its not Pakistan ………… but it is BANISTAN because Govt goes to ban every thing which govt feels is ”OBJECTIONABLE”


  • Pakistani
    Aug 6, 2013 - 10:39AM

    Which part of ‘Mind your own business’ you Indians do not understand.


  • Usman
    Aug 6, 2013 - 12:27PM

    So it took them a year to block 2700 URLs? Nice job, we all are very proud of you, now how long its going to take to block the whole internet?


  • Rameez
    Aug 6, 2013 - 6:14PM

    So who is going to decide what’s objectionable and what’s not? Are we now going to make a parliamentary committee for this task? Imagine if Taliban are also invited to be a part of this committee, everything will be is hard to think what won’t be banned in that case!


  • mind control
    Aug 6, 2013 - 8:47PM


    Which part of ‘Mind your own business’ you Indians do not understand.

    The ‘MIND’ part.

    Pakistanis talking about ‘Mind’ confuses us poor Indians.


  • Aug 7, 2013 - 9:20AM

    The banning of URLs is relatively easy, but Governments are usually discouraged by Civil activists to not to put such infrastructure in place.

    This will allow the Governments to keep tabs on the citizens AND, most importantly, ban anti-establishment news.

    When the Infrastructure is placed under a Democratic Govt, it is undesirable, but in a way tolerable. But, Pakistan is not a Democracy and the Military may/will use it to block anti-Military news articles on the Internet.

    Say, a Dictator usurps power(again) in Pakistan, he will have the infrastructure at his disposal to control what Pakistanis get to see on their browsers.

    People who use VPN and proxy servers, the use CAN be detected, once this infrastructure is in place and ban them too. If you want more info Google how China blocks access to important material to its citizens. VPN nor proxy servers will work.

    The implications of such a tech in Pakistan is vastly under-estimated.


  • Aqeel
    Aug 7, 2013 - 4:18PM

    Can somebody please fire her? Massive amount of tax-payer money will be spent on writing a useless software that can automatically ban objectionable content .. Versus thousands of freely available proxies to bypass that software. Doesn’t make any sense.


  • Shezad
    Aug 9, 2013 - 12:06AM

    I won’t support this decision unless ET is banned permanently


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