By: Zulqernain Tahir
LAHORE: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said on Tuesday the government would reopen YouTube after completion of work on a filtration mechanism.
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority directed internet service providers and mobile phone firms to unblock YouTube on Dec 29 but within an hour the prime minister re-imposed the ban because the anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims” had not been removed.
“We believe in access to free information. The only reason not to unblock YouTube is the presence of blasphemous material on it. We will open it as soon as we have a filtration mechanism,” the prime minister said while addressing Safma delegates at the Governor’s House on Tuesday.
He said there should be no visa restriction for media people because they bring the people closer and know how to connect people. He said Pakistan attached importance to Saarc and was committed to its principles and objectives.
Pakistan, he said, supported liberalisation of Saarc trade within the region and looked forward to increasing bilateral and multilateral trade with member countries.
“We have peculiar challenges which can be tackled effectively by developing home-grown solutions. It is in this context that diversity among the member countries needed to be employed to accelerate the process of development through greater connectivity. South Asia can do well to learn from the best global practices and apply them to the regional context.”
He said that conflict over disputes must give way to reconciliation, connectivity, openness and regional cooperation.
“The collective wellbeing of people of South Asia cannot be left at the mercy of any one country. We need to resolve all political and economic issues with an open mind and sincerity of purpose.”