YouTube ban to stay in Pakistan

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A Pakistani court Thursday refused to issue an interim order to restore the services of banned video-sharing website, YouTube, in the country.
Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah of Lahore High Court sought suggestions from experts of Ministry of Information Technology about “removing blasphemous and undesirable material” from YouTube and other websites for July 25.

Shah was hearing a petition filed by NGO – Bytes for All – for lifting the ban.

The Pakistan Peoples Party government in September last year, had banned YouTube across the country following refusal of its parent company Google to remove a blasphemous film from the site, which had triggered violent protests in the conservative Islamic nation.

The petitioner’s counsel urged the court to pass an interim order to the PML-N government for restoring the access to YouTube. The deputy attorney general opposed the plea contending that it was a “sensitive matter” and allowing access to YouTube might trigger protests in the country.

Advocate Dasie Hamdani, counsel for the petitioner, maintained, “All internet curbs are counterproductive and deprive Pakistanis of the right to access information as well as the right to counter any propaganda against the country or against their beliefs. Taking away the access to YouTube is tantamount to taking away a scholar’s pen.”

The ban amounted to infringement of fundamental rights to reading and knowledge as a large number of people of Pakistan had been affecting by the ban, he argued.

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