LAHORE: The Lahore High Court will hear on Monday a petition seeking a ban on the online game, PUBG, in Pakistan in the wake of incidents of violence and killings involving youngsters fond of the game.

Tanvir Sarwar, a citizen, filed the petition through his counsel Nadeem Sarwar, saying playing online games had become a trend among youngsters. He said for some it was just a pastime and mood refresher, but there were people who got addicted to these online games.

He said such addiction to PUBG and other online games was not a positive sign for the physical and mental health of the youth, in particular. He said spending excessive time playing online games could start having a negative impact on the overall personality and health of a person.

The petitioner pointed out that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had in 2018 declared gaming addiction as a mental health disorder that increased depression and anxiety levels among the players.

He submitted that in Pakistan PUBG players had been committing murders due to the adverse impact of the game as in a recent incident a young boy allegedly killed his mother and three siblings influenced by the game.

The petitioner contended that the PUBG had become a serious life and health threat to its players and their families. He said if an immediate ban was not imposed on the game, it would ruin the younger generation.

He argued that inaction on part of the government functionaries with regard to imposing a ban on PUBG despite horrible incidents of killings was a violation of the Constitution.

He said a ban needed to be imposed on the game at the earliest without further delay to protect the lives of youngsters.

He asked the court to order the respondents to impose an immediate ban on PUBG by blocking its access in Pakistan. The federal law secretary, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) had been made respondents in the petition.

The hearing of the petition had been fixed before Justice Shams Mahmood Mirza for Monday.

Published in Dawn, January 30th, 2022

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