The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday ordered the government to lift ban on online game Players' Unknown Battle Ground (PUBG) hours after the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority’s (PTA) announcement to keep the game on the block list.
Justice Aamir Farooq of the IHC announced the verdict today which was reserved last week in the petition challenging the ban.
During the last hearing, the judge had remarked that the PTA should have taken the advice from a psychiatrist before taking the extreme decision.
The PTA's lawyer adopted the stance that the game had been banned after the department had witnessed some anti-Islam material on it.
The regulatory authority has maintained that the company has still not shared the measures it is taking to address the concerns raised by the people.
In a statement issued announcing the decision to ban the game, the PTA said it reached the decision to keep the game banned after a detailed hearing conducted at the PTA premises on July 9 on the directions of the Lahore High Court.
The said hearing was attended by other interested parties including a lawyer of the PUBG company.
The PTA said it also approached the PUBG management to share data about PUBG sessions and users in Pakistan and controls in place by the company. The response from PUBG is awaited, it said.
On July 1, the PTA announced the decision to temporarily suspend the PUBG game in the country after it received multiple complaints from different segments of society.
The authority said it received numerous complaints against PUBG wherein it was stated that the game is addictive, wastage of time, and poses a serious negative impact on the physical and psychological health of the Children.
According to recent media reports, cases of suicide attributed to PUBG game have also been reported.
The Lahore High court also directed the PTA to look into the issue and decide the matter after hearing the complainants.
The authority had also solicited views of the public to reach any decision about the online game.
Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Wednesday slammed the ongoing "moral policing and ban approach" in Pakistan as the country pondered permanent bans on TikTok and PUBG and a day after the Chinese application was warned over "immoral, obscene and vulgar content".
Fawad said that it was not okay to go on banning apps left, right, and centre, as it would "destroy [Pakistani] tech industry".
He further highlighted how development in technology would "be permanently hampered" across Pakistan, a country that already lags significantly behind the world in terms of science and research.
The federal minister expressed his concern over how there was a consistent and "ill-advised interference in economic matters" that affected the country’s growth.
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