PESHAWAR, May 14: A local lawyer has challenged in Peshawar High Court the ban placed on social media website YouTube, pleading that the site should be unblocked.

The petitioner, advocate Mian Mohibullah Kakakhel, on Tuesday requested the PHC to direct the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and ministry of interior to open the website (www.YouTube.com) for the benefit of public at large. The PTA through its chairman and ministry of interior through secretary interior, have been made respondents in the petition. The petitioner has also requested the court to grant interim relief by unblocking the website till final disposal of the petition.

Advocate Kakakhel stated that the interior ministry had banned YouTube last year on the direction of then minister of interior after blasphemous movie “Innocence of Islam” was uploaded.

He stated that banning the whole website was not a solution for stopping the blasphemous videos. He said that the two respondents had promised on several occasions to ban the links of blasphemous videos, but failed to depute a team of expert software engineers to make some effort in this regard.

The petitioner stated that the YouTube contained some valuable videos which were not available in the local market. The videos include those of historical, cultural and religious importance besides music, sports, movies, news, animal planets, cartoons for kids and sermons of Islamic scholars.

He claimed that YouTube was the only website containing education contents, which encouraged students and citizens to learn technical things like making new software, robots, mechanical engineering, software engineering, how to install a hardware, advance cell phone usage and installation of software. He said that most of the software might not be provided here, or if available, a hefty amount of fee was demanded.

The petitioner claimed that the respondents (when in government) banned the YouTube for ulterior motives to stop free election campaigns by their rivals through social media.

He contended that majority of people in the country had access to internet now and YouTube ban was in violation of their right to information. He said that banning such a website for youth was illegal, without lawful authority and jurisdiction.

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