LAHORE: The Punjab police have finally lodged a written complaint and requested the federal authorities to slap a complete ban on the violent online games, primarily, on popular PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), saying the games are causing criminal tendencies among teenagers.
The step came some 10 days after the police high command called a meeting on Jan 29 when the Lahore police reported that a teenager had allegedly shot dead four members of his family after being influenced by the PUBG game.
Attended by many senior police officers, the meeting was chaired by Inspector General of Police Punjab Rao Sardar Ali Khan.
All the senior officers had unanimously recommended in the meeting to take a firm position and write a formal complaint to the federal government for a ban on the game.
Following the decision, the IG office on Wednesday formally wrote to the Punjab additional chief secretary (ACS-home) to seek a ban on PUBG to stop further violent incidents. (A copy of the letter is also available with Dawn).
Declaring it a dangerous sport for children, a senior police official shared some disturbing features of the PUBG saying it is an online multiplayer “battle royale” game in which the winner is the last survivor. In the game, he said, the players are given tasks to kill others with deadly weapons.
“The stages of the games reflect the horrific picture where the young players are prompted to enter into battlegrounds, use deadly weapons, take revenge for bloodshed and kill others,” he said.
Many countries had imposed a ban on the online game on the complaints of parents when they declared that it was wasting time and causing a serious negative impact on the physical and psychological health of the children.
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) had also banned the Battlegrounds in July 2020 when the Lahore police authorities raised the issue that it was driving the teenagers to violence while reporting some incidents in which teens committed suicide for not completing the task given in the games.
The ban was lifted after a month when the PTA was assured about a comprehensive control mechanism to avoid such incidents in future, the police official said.
However, the recent murder of four members of a family - a lady health worker and her three children - by her teenaged son in January again brought the matter to the limelight, prompting the police high command to opt for a complete ban on the PUBG.
“The quadruple murder of a family in Lahore on Jan 19, 2022 can’t be conveniently adjudged as a plain-text crime,” reads the official letter.
The IG lamented that it was not an isolated incident of its kind as incidents of similar nature occurred in the past in Lahore’s several areas including North Cantt, South Cantt, and Nawankot.
He also shared the reference of the first information reports (FIRs) and other police record that showed the teenagers committed violent crime after being influenced by the game.
“It is evident that the obsessive indulgence of youth in online violent games like PUBG and Fortnite is introducing into young minds of the players a sense of comfort with violence, leading to criminal tendency,” Rao Sardar said.
Aforementioned in view, the PTA may be requested to impose a complete ban on violent games PUBG etc, the IG said in the letter.
Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2022