Senate body told PTA can’t stop YouTube completely
ISLAMABAD: Technically, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and the Ministry of Information and Technology cannot stop YouTube completely but appropriate measures had been taken to implement the directives of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
People are still using YouTube through different proxy addresses. This was told to a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology held at parliament. PTA chairman informed the committee that the authority took every step to stop the offending material on YouTube as directed by the Supreme Court. However, it was impossible to stop the video on YouTube completely. The PTA chief also told the committee that the authority alone cannot stop or open YouTube. The opening of YouTube requires the approval from the Inter-Ministerial Committee, he added.
Information Technology Minister Anusha Rehman told the committee that a US court had made quick decisions to remove the anti Muslim video. The PTA has implemented the SC verdict. Committee Chairman Idrees Safi directed the Ministry of Information Technology and PTA to follow the recommendation of the sub-committee to open YouTube immediately. The committee was also briefed over the privatisation of PTCL and they expressed displeasures over the agreement made with Etisalat. The committee was interested in getting the remaining portion of $800 million from Etisalat in return for the 26 percent management shares given to the foreign company. The first agreement was made in 2005 and the amended agreement was made in 2006.
The committee expressed serious concerns over removing the termination clause and directed the Law Division and Privatization Commission to study both the agreements and derive a conclusion. Talking about the removed clauses that were in the interest of the country, the committee gave two weeks time to both the ministries to submit the reports. Anusha told the committee that the privatisation of PTCL and removing the termination clause was a bad decision and totally against the national interest. She informed the committee that when she was an MNA and the member of NA body on IT, nobody shared the documents with the committee. She added that this agreement is a lesson for the government.
The minister apprised the committee that the Ministry of IT had sent 13 PSDP projects to the FIA for enquiry as they involved serious corruption. A total of 22 projects were sent to her for extension out of which 13 were sent for enquiry. These projects were mostly initiated in 2003 and 2004, the minister maintained. Senator Haseeb Khan said that six projects began in Karachi, the funds for these projects were released but there was nothing on the ground. The e-commissioner Islamabad project was also sent for enquiry to the FIA as there was nothing on ground. Similarly, a CDA project, in which 500 computers were given to the authority but on ground there was not a single computer, she added.
Anusha noted that the Information Ministry had suffered a lot due to the absence of its minister during the last five years. However, currently regular meetings are held with all of the departments concerned and things would be put on the right track soon.