ISLAMABAD - The eager and impatient users of YouTube in Pakistan will have to wait longer as it cannot become functional in Pakistan unless Google removes blasphemous material altogether or a localised version is introduced in the country, the government officials told The Nation on Wednesday.
Hopes of YouTube enthusiasts rekindled a few days back when Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid told a delegation of journalists in Lahore that the ban on video-sharing website would be lifted soon.
Sources in Ministry of Information Technology, on condition of anonymity, told The Nation that the ban could not be lifted immediately as Supreme Court had given clear orders regarding the restriction and it could not be removed until and unless the blasphemous contents were erased from it, which was almost impossible.
There is no software available with the government or its organisations to block the contents while keeping the site open for the public, the sources said. The officials said that there was a hope of YouTube opening when on February 26 American Court asked Google to remove the contents from the site. Google whereas fought back and later on 28th February the court gave another verdict, ordering the site to remove some part of the blasphemous movie relating to a female artist that played a role in that immoral movie.
After the aforementioned decision, there is only one option left and that is having a localised version of the site that is not possible until and unless ‘Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill’ is passed through the parliament.
Official privy to the latest developments said that the draft of the abovementioned bill was vetted by the law ministry and was then with the cabinet. In the next step, the bill would be presented in the Parliament and thereafter the ministry could again talk to Google to launch its localised version. But the prerogative remains with Google to comply with the request, he added.
Google has communicated to the government officials that once the bill is passed from the parliament they will make business feasibility for Pakistan. That study will determine whether or not a localised version will become a reality.
If the Google decides to launch a localised version of its site in Pakistan, it will be bound to remove any controversial and immoral content from the site on the request of the government.