IHC directs PTA to 'immediately' remove ban on PUBG

Updated 24 Jul 2020

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The PTA had decided to "temporarily suspend" online game PUBG on July 1. — AP/File
The PTA had decided to "temporarily suspend" online game PUBG on July 1. — AP/File

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday declared the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA's) move to temporarily suspend online game Player Unknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) void and directed the authority to "immediately" remove the ban.

The decision was announced in a short order issued by Justice Amir Farooq. A detailed judgement will be issued later.

It came on the heels of a tweet by PTA, posted shortly after midnight, in which the authority announced that the game would remain blocked in the country. It said that the decision "has been made by the Authority after a detailed hearing conducted in PTA on July 9 on the directions of the Lahore High Court".

PTA added that it had approached the gaming company to "share data about PUBG sessions and users in Pakistan and controls in place" and was waiting for a response.

'Addictive' game

The PTA had decided to "temporarily suspend" online game PUBG on July 1.

In a statement, the authority said it had received several complaints about the game being "addictive", a waste of time and its potential negative impact on children's physical and psychological health.

"According to media reports, cases of suicide attributed to the game have also been reported. The Lahore High Court has also directed PTA to look into the issue and decide the matter after hearing the complaints."

The suspension was denounced by social media users with hashtags such as "UnbanPUBG" and "ChickendinneratDChowk" trending on Twitter.

Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry tweeted that he was "against all such bans". "Such attitude is killing tech industry."

Chaudhry said he hoped IT Minister Aminul Haque would "take notice of the ban" and PTA would be "instructed not to encourage such bans as it hinders tech growth in the long run".