Pakistan lifts YouTube ban, but says blasphemous links will be blocked

      Pakistan has lifted the ban from the famous video sharing website YouTube, but said that some of the objectionable links on the website would remain blocked in the country. “YouTube has been unblocked, but the links to sacrilegious content would remain inaccessible in Pakistan ,” Pakistan Telecommunication Authority ( PTA ) official Khurram Mehran said. Earlier, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the government was in the process of lifting the ban from popular social networking site Facebook also. Acting on the Lahore High Court’s direction, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority ( PTA ) had earlier directed all Internet service providers in the country to shut down websites such as YouTube, and Facebook, as protests over the Prophet Muhammad issue had intensified across the country. The controversy gained momentum when a Facebook user organised an ‘Everyone Draw Mohammed Day’ contest to promote freedom of expression. Islamic activists in country were left fuming after the incident that led to a big dispute. The Lahore court had ordered a ban on Facebook and Youtube till May 31. The PTA had banned access to Facebook, YouTube and more than 450 links, including restricted access to Wikipedia in view of what it called “growing sacrilegious content”. There were protests all across Pakistan over certain “blasphemous” contents being splashed on these internet sites. In Karachi , the financial capital of the country, religious parties mobilised hundreds of protesters onto the streets to demand a ban on Facebook and an apology from the social networking site for humiliating Muslims. Activists shouted slogans such as “Death to Facebook”, “Death to America ” and branded the United States the “root cause of all mischief” at the peaceful rallies. In Multan , hundreds of people rallied, burning US flags and tyres to block traffic before dispersing peacefully. In the northwestern city of Peshawar , about 250 students and religious activists staged protest, chanting “Death to Facebook, death to Youtube,” and also torched a US flag.

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