PTA lifts ban on PUBG after meeting company representatives

Published July 30, 2020
"Keeping in view the positive engagement and response of the company, PTA has decided to unban PUBG," the authority said. — AP/File
"Keeping in view the positive engagement and response of the company, PTA has decided to unban PUBG," the authority said. — AP/File

The Pakistan Telecom­munication Authority (PTA) announced on Thursday that it had decided to lift the ban on the online game PlayerUnknown’s Battle Ground (PUBG).

In a statement, the authority said that it had met with the legal representatives of the game. "[The] representatives briefed the authority on the response to queries raised by PTA with respect to controls put in place to prevent misuse of the gaming platform."

"The authority expressed its satisfaction on measures adopted so far and emphasised on continued engagement and a comprehensive control mechanism."

The statement added that the representatives welcomed PTA's feedback on the issue and assured that their concerns would be taken into account, urging the telecommunication authority to lift its ban.

"Keeping in view the positive engagement and response of the company, PTA has decided to unban PUBG," it added.

Reacting to the news, Minster for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry said that the decision to end the ban on the online game was a "sane approach".

"[A] ban is an extreme measure, must be very careful in [the] future," he said, adding that the science ministry was of the opinion that Pakistan must work closely with tech companies to resolve issues.

PTA had banned the online game on June 1, citing several complaints about it being "addictive", a waste of time and its potential negative impact on children's physical and psychological health.

Last week, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had declared PTA’s move void and directed the authority to immediately lift the ban. The decision was announced in a short order issued by Justice Amir Farooq.

However, the PTA had refused to review its decision and had issued a detailed explanation. The authority said it had come across various studies, papers and reports regarding the impact of internet games, specifically PUBG, on the mental as well as physical health of the players. Besides violence and addiction, the authority said PUBG made people less productive.

The authority had said it considered it “necessary” to block PUBG in the interest of public order.

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