Ever since the controversial movie ‘Innocence of Muslims’ surfaced on YouTube, Pakistan government had banned the website on the pretext of making blasphemous content unavailable. It recently decided to lift the ban and restore YouTube access but within three minutes, it place the curbs back on.
The excuse wielded by the government to place a blanket ban on YouTube access in Pakistan was simply that it wanted to block blasphemous content. Thus, the website was blocked starting from Sept 17 this year.
Even when banned, YouTube was accessible to most of the users through proxy websites, so the entire drama of banning it was more of a political gimmick to win support. The civil society and social activists had been pressurizing the government to lift the ban so that normal access to the largest video portal on the web could be resumed.
On Saturday, the government seemed to have finally relented to this pressure. After a month-long hints by the country’s interior minister that the website would soon be unblocked, the government finally issued a directive to all ISPs to resume access to the website.
However, before soon, a notoriously religious and conservative journalist of a private news channel, Geo News, pointed out that the blasphemous content was still accessible on YouTube. Fearing any rightist repercussions, especially with the elections just around the corner, the government was quick to cower to the revelation and the Prime Minister himself announced that the website would be blocked, yet again. So Pakistanis had three glorious minutes of direct access to YouTube, after which they had to go back to using it through proxy sites.