EIGHT months and counting: the government that imposed the ban is gone, a new one has been elected and there have been several appeals. Yet, there is no sign on the horizon of the blockade on YouTube being overturned. The only information to come out on this front recently is that apropos of a legal challenge on the ban, on Friday the Lahore High Court was informed by government officials that the Google administration, whose point of view had been sought by the LHC, was mulling over the legal implications over appearing before a foreign court. But Google and subsidiaries such as YouTube are used by all manner of people and all sorts of material passes through these channels; the whole idea is to allow unfettered communication. Were Pakistan a major market that would make blockades imposed by the government carry some leverage with Internet giants, there might have been some hope. Lacking that, it is unlikely in the extreme that Google would consider the loss of YouTube in Pakistan anything more than a minor irritant that matters only to Pakistanis.

For the resolution of the matter, it would be more sensible to turn the searchlight inwards. In January, it was reported that what Pakistan lacks is a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the US under which, amongst other issues, an Internet company could be directed to abide by the laws of other countries. It should be recalled that back when the ban was imposed, other countries including India and Egypt managed to get Google to selectively bar countrywide access to the content considered illegal. The Ministry of Information and Technology, Pemra, the PTA and all other stakeholders need to get their paperwork sorted instead of wasting further time.

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Comments (6)

Md Imran
May 20, 2013 2:11 pm
Pakistan is a emerging IT giant and companies like Google/Microsoft realize this. Besides, half of software engineers in US are either Pakistanis or from other ummah nations. US companies should realize the sensitivities of culture/religion and take adequate steps not to allow such material to pass through Google,Facebook,Myspace etc
Guest
May 20, 2013 7:28 pm
Google did not request Pakistan to block YouTube, their sensitivities were not hurt. If they had an iota of financial or ethical concerns they would have bent backward to please the govt to allow them in the country. So if as per your statement "Besides, half of software engineers in US are either Pakistanis or from other ummah nations." shouldnt they all resign from a company which is working against the ummah? $$$ are more important than religion i guess.
numbersnumbers
May 20, 2013 6:32 pm
By the way, Egypt and India (along with more than 50 plus other countries) have set up localized YouTube hubs so they can control what is viewable in their countries! If one goes to Wikipedia and search for "YouTube", you will see a list of the more than 50 countries (many Muslim) that have set up localized hubs! One might wonder why Pakistan has not tried to be on that list yet!
numbersnumbers
May 20, 2013 6:14 pm
Once again, NOWHERE in this editorial is it explained that Pakistan could easily solve this problem by setting up a Pakistan specific YouTube hub (just like many other countries have, Muslim ones included) that would allow the state to locally CENSOR what is viewable inside Pakistan!
HNY2013
May 20, 2013 7:23 pm
Where did you get those facts from sir.....can you quantify those or are those another of your brainwashed ideas? Whats the number of IT professionals from pakistan when compared to INDIA, CHINA etc? And on the passing please also enumerate which "from other ummah nations' IT people dominate the Google/Microsoft workspace.
Ahmer
May 20, 2013 8:04 pm
By removing the ban now without even a face saving gesture by Google Youtube will be too insulting and should be delayed till at least a modicum of negotiations.
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