ISLAMABAD - The National Assembly on Tuesday unanimously adopted a resolution to lift the ban on YouTube in the country.
Speaking on the resolution, Minister of State for Health Services, Regulation and Coordination Sara Fazal Tarar was of the view that the issue could be resolved with the consent of all the political forces. She proposed that the issue could be resolved by an IT committee or a body, representing all political parties. She added the Supreme Court (SC) had also not given permission to lift the ban on YouTube.
The minister was of the view that it was responsibility of all the parties to discuss the matter in length, requesting the parliamentary leaders of all the parties to suggest the names of members to take part in the discussions in this regard.
PPP’s Shazia Marri, the mover of the resolution, said the government should lift the ban on YouTube as had been done by Bangladesh and other countries. “This is a great facility for students,” she said, adding religious contents could also be watched. She asserted You-Tube was being opened with the help of proxy servers. “Laptop distribution among students will not resolve the issue as it also needs to be connected to the world,” she said, inviting rumpus from the treasury benches.
YouTube was blocked in September 2012 on the orders of the then prime minister over its failure to delete the “Innocence of Muslims” movie.
After the vote, Marri told AFP it was time for Pakistan to give up what she termed its “double standard”. “The Pakistani Taliban launches their website and the (government) does not take action against it, but it maintains a ban on YouTube,” she said. Though the resolution is not legally binding, it was seen as a positive step by anti-censorship campaigners.
Shahzad Ahmed, director of a group called Bytes for All that campaigns against Internet censorship and has asked a court to overturn the ban, said it was a “very welcome” move. “It’s great news and I think it’s time for the political leadership to take the lead in resolving the issue,” he told AFP.
Earlier, six bills, including Thalassaemia Patients Bill, 2014, “The Child Protection System Bill, 2014”, “Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplaces, were referred to the committees concerned of the house.
The Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplaces (Amendment) Bill, 2014, says the amendment is aimed to bridge the gaps and remove lacunae and anomalies in the law to provide protection to women from all forms of harassment at workplaces without any gender discrimination.‘The Thalassaemia Patients Bill, 2014’, provides for the compulsory blood test for the relatives of thalassaemia patients.
“The Child Protection System Bill, 2014”, provides for enactment to promote child rights and protect children at risk in Islamabad Capital Territory.
Earlier, responding to a call-attention notice moved by Syed Naveed Qamar about closure of a number of sales offices of PIA in various parts of the country, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmad said the offices were closed because of lack of passengers in those areas. He further said the government would review the issue soon.