Senate committee asks govt to unblock YouTube | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

Senate committee asks govt to unblock YouTube

Pakistan Press Foundation

ISLAMABAD: The Senate’s Functional Committee on Human Rights on Monday recommened that the government unblock the YouTube in Pakistan.

A resolution, which was passed unanimously, said the ban be overturned as no such provision was in place in any other Muslim country.

Committee chairman Afrasiab Khattak of the Awami National Party, while reading the resolution, pointed out: “There is no ban on YouTube in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.”

Members of the human rights committee expressed concern over the long-running ban and maintained that YouTube could still be accessed through proxies and other means.

“The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority chairman has already told (us) that there is no advantage of the ban,” Khattak said. Committee members noted that Internet users could still access restricted videos, making the ban irrelevant. They also resolved to raise the issue on the floor of the Senate.

YouTube has been blocked since September 2012, when it refused to take down a film that was offensive to Muslims and had sparked protests around the world.

The committee was also told by the Sindh home secretary that the Protection of Pakistan Ordinance had been implemented in Sindh, angering some senators.

The MQM’s Nasreen Jalil said that more than 45 workers of her party had gone missing in recent days, while 20 had been killed ‘extra-judicially.’

Her statement was seconded by the PPP’s Farhatullah Babar, who said that following the implementation of the PPO, there had been increasing reports of extrajudicial killings in Karachi.

Committee members also condemned the attack on journalist Hamid Mir, calling it ‘an attack on freedom of expression’. The senators called on the government to take stringent action against those responsible. “The government should act to stem the rising tide of violence against journalists in the country,” PPP Senator Sehar Kamran said, adding that “media houses should also avoid levelling allegations against security agencies before an inquiry is conducted”.

The committee reacted sharply to reports of cannibalism in Bhakkar. “The government should either amend existing laws or introduce legislation against cannibalism,” the committee chairman said. The committee unanimously passed a resolution calling on the Punjab government to act swiftly against the two brothers accused of eating human flesh.