ISLAMABAD - YouTube may return to Pakistan in the first week of May said sources. The video portal was blocked by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority over a blasphemous movie that drew fury among the Muslims around the world.
The sources said, “The ban on YouTube in Pakistan is likely to be lifted in the first week of May as Google administration has approached the Ministry of Information Technology in a bid to permanently block the blasphemous content on the video-sharing site.”
Earlier, the Google administration owing to absence of necessary laws and agreements between Pakistan and US declined the request to remove the heinous matter from the website. This time, however, negotiations are said to be fruitful. Sources in Ministry of Information Technology (MoI&T) told this scribe that the ministry while raising Pakistan's genuine concern towards the sacrilegious content had persistently followed the issue and seriously took up the matter with US diplomatic level and eventually succeeded to convince the Google administration. Both sides to remove sacrilegious' content from YouTube on good faith have so far agreed to meet in a video conference next week.
During this videoconference between both sides, two proposals are likely to be placed by Pakistani authorities, sources added."A software to permanently filter the sacrilegious content from the video sharing website -YouTube - would be uploaded under which blasphemous matter would not be shared on the tube, said an official of information technology ministry, adding that the Pakistani authorities had submitted the Supreme Court's decision to the Google administration pertaining blockage of YouTube in Pakistan."
The Supreme Court had also directed the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulation Authority (Pemra) and the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) to block blasphemous content on a social media website. The apex court issued the order after taking a suo motu notice of blasphemous content on the website.
Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said that Pemra and PTA should exercise greater caution regarding the material. The court's decision came in the wake of widespread protests in Pakistan and other countries with sizeable Muslim populations against an anti-Islam film available on the Internet.
Taking cognisance of the situation following the violent protests across the country after the sharing of blasphemous, former Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf also ordered the immediate blocking of video sharing site YouTube in Pakistan. The decision to block the website was taken after YouTube denied to remove the anti-Islam film.
A statement from the Prime Minister's office read: "The direction has been given after YouTube refused to the advice of the government of Pakistan to remove blasphemous film from its site." The statement added that services of YouTube would remain suspended till removal of blasphemous material from the site.
Besides, the Interior and Religious, the Information Technology Ministry had also recommended a complete ban on YouTube.
Upon this, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), following the Supreme Court's orders, blocked thousands of links leading to the anti-Islam film on YouTube.