PHC seeks documents on YouTube ban
PESHAWAR: A two-member bench of the Peshawar High Court on Thursday directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to produce all documents and details provided to the Lahore High Court in a writ petition challenging the ban imposed on social media website YouTube by the government since 2012.
Justice Mian Fasihul Mulk and Justice Yahya Afridi also posed several questions to the PTA asking it to help the court.
The bench asked whether there is any law regulating internet and websites; whether approaching the YouTube and other websites by the public through proxy are illegal, and whether there is any threat to internet banking consumer due ban on different websites.
The bench was hearing a writ petition filed by lawyer Mian Mohibullah Kakakhel, who contended that YouTube blocking was depriving people from knowledge and therefore, it should be unblocked. He said the blasphemous/objectionable contents should be banned and removed from YouTube so that the general public could use it for positive activities.
The petitioner said the right to information of an individual had been violated through such like bans and Pakistanis were forced to confine to those websites which the government wanted them to surf.
Deputy Attorney General Mohammad Iqbal Mohmand and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority Assistant Director (Legal) Jawad Akhtar told the bench that an identical writ petition had already been pending before the Lahore High Court.
The bench observed that it would be appropriate that the PTA should provide complete details about the proceedings before the LHC and also to submit the documents which it had provided to the LHC to see in which stage that case was.
The petitioner said on the direction of the then interior minister the ministry of interior had banned YouTube in which a blasphemous movie, Innocence of Islam, was uploaded.
The PTA and the Ministry of Information Technology had stated in its comments submitted few months ago that the government had initially blocked around 2067 websites carrying the blasphemous movie, but due to excessive uploading of the movie, it completely blocked YouTube on Sept 17, 2012.