Fabricating Internet Censorship in Pakistan Through Lies

By Mohammad Ali Sadiq

Recently there has been a lot of talk about the apparent GREAT FIREWALL OF PAKISTAN. A specific group of people have been making noise over this issue and spreading a propaganda which is based on half truths and public misinformation.

The propaganda that has been spread all over social media is that Pakistan is going to be installing a blanket Internet Blocking System and that would kill off all our internet freedoms. The picture that these people have been painting is that, if this happens, it would be the end of the freedom of speech in Pakistan.

And as always naïve Twitterati and Western media have jumped on this bandwagon and started attacking Pakistan over this. This post aims to set the record straight and list all the facts for everyone to read.

Throughout this post I will explain the whole issue and let you reach your own conclusions and realize how a few people use such issues for personal fame and gain by just misleading the masses.

For instance, have a look at a screenshot of online petition they are asking people to sign, it specifically is saying: Say No to Blanket Ban.


Before we go in to details of things, let me explain how censorship currently works in Pakistan. The process is that if there something that needs to be blocked i.e. offensive material of any sort, a request is sent by the Pakistan Telecom Authority to the Internet Service Providers (ISPs). The ISPs then manually block that URL/web address so that it cannot be accessed on their service.

ISPs spend manual labor doing this and do it on an individual basis. As a result of that sometimes things slip through the cracks i.e. while most websites that need to be blocked are blocked, a few sites might remain open on some ISPs.

ISPs are supposed to comply with the PTA block lists, otherwise they face fines. So instead of doing this whole process manually and individually, the ISPs sat together and thought that they could get a program made that would automate this whole process.

Currently each of them does this individually and manually. But if they were to get the whole thing automated, it would simplify their lives and save everyone money too. So in effect, the decision to AUTOMATE the URL BLOCKING and FILTERATION was a matter of long term convenience.

As ISPs are members of the National ICT R&D Fund (the money for the fund comes in form of donations from the ISPs as it is part of their licensing agreements with PTA), they requested the National ICT R&D Fund to float an RFP for such a system to be developed by local manufacturers. The intention was that given an automated system is needed, might as well get it made from within the country, this way it would create jobs and improve the capacity of local security software producers.

But once this RFP got published, all hell broke loose for the naïve pseudo activists. Reading this advert in the newspaper, a small group of individuals, who make their living by making noise about such things, picked up this issue and went with it without actually investigating it.

So began the series of tweets and press releases encouraging ‘International Firms’ not to apply for the RFP. The starting propaganda was that ‘International Firms’ should not help Pakistan become a China like censorship state. Had any one of them bothered to study the actual RFP in detail, they would have realized that it was supposed to be a completely indigenous creation that was to simply automate the manual system currently in place.

Plus this would have created jobs in the local market, but none of these so called activists bothered to mention these points. So in effect not only did these people actively encourage foreign firms not to invest in Pakistan, they also made sure local jobs are not created by local firms.

Moving onwards, the myth being spread online and elsewhere is that this sort of a system would block internet for Pakistan (check screenshot above). This is a blatant lie, as I have explained earlier; the RFP is simply for automation of the existing censorship system so that it saves time and money for the ISPs. Nothing new is being added to it and nothing is being taken away from it, no new censorship policies or agendas are being made a part of it.

It is simply good old fashioned automation. And yet this is exactly what is not being talked about. People are talking about blanket bans, limitation of net freedoms and violation of freedom of speech. But no one is stating the hard facts that none of these things would be hurt because if that were true, all this would be happening right now as well when the system is being run manually.

The fact is that like every other issues these pseudo intellectual naïve activists take up; they have made a joke out of this as well. What started out as an effort to create local jobs and build local capacity, is now being demonized by people who did not even bother to do their own research.

Pakistan is not going to have a blanket ban. We are not going to have stricter filtration than we already do. All we are going to have is something automated which will create jobs and investment internally.

Our ISPs could have simply bought software that fit the bill from abroad but they chose not to. For that they are being punished by a bunch activists who are also giving Pakistan a bad name internationally in this whole process.

So before you become a victim of misinformation by these people, please investigate on your own. Read the whole RFP here (http://www.ictrdf.org.pk/RFP-%20URL%20Filtering%20&%20Blocking.pdf) to see how you have been duped by a certain lobby on this issue.

Having said this all, these activists could have reached out to ICT R&D fund (if they indeed want to serve the country and community) to ask for transparency. For instance, they could have demanded a public list to be maintained of blocked websites with reasoning plus a review procedure if someone wants to get a particular website unblocked (if he/she believes that it was blocked mistakenly or unreasonable).

I at least hope they don’t want blasphemous content to go on-air, hence won’t mind filtration of such kind, for which an automated system was required.

  • @Ali Sadiq

    The ‘Said Lobby’ shared strong ties with each other! But on a separate note, you should also add their comments for this article

    • I cannot figure it out whether Aamir & Co. are acting missionaries aka Tablighi Jam’at or they are trying to increase their post viewership through such controversial post which in fact is affecting them negatively. They are following the issue religiously and a related post popup every now and then.

    • This block all porn strategy really amazes me. lets censor everything. may be it’ll make Pakistan a great country. maybe it’ll end terrorism n corruption n all the evil of this society.

    • The censer ship be it of the media or now of the Internet is nothing but a Punjabi scheme to maintain their shaky hold on other provinces. Wonder how long will Punjabiland keep on governing and plundering Baluchistan, Karachi and Sind if there was any freedom of speech allowed for disenfranchised subjects.

      • Well, no punjabi is stopping you from arresting corrupt landlords in rural sindh, but I don’t see any Sindhis doing it. So I guess your theory of Punjab control is false.

  • What ever they are blocking porn or any things… it comes under the head of ani-freedom of speech so it should be abundant…


        • ye islamia jhamoria pakistan hai bhaion aur pakistan ko hum ney islaam ke naam pe liya tha shayad tum logo ko yaad ho ,Islam main poora haq hai government ko k wo kisi bhi ghalat kaam k khelaf qanoon banai ye koi secular country nahi hai jo har cheez ki ijazat ho.Ab ye na kehna plzz k phelay aur cheezo pe amal tu karwao, agar doosray kaam achay nahi ho rahy tu kia naya koi kaam acha nahi kar saktay hum ?.wasey hi aaj kal k bachay kahan ja rahay hain hamaray kisi ko fikar hi nahi.Phir hum sab masoomiat se khetay hain k ZALZALY q atay hain .Khuda ka khuaf karo bhaion kuch.

      • So I ask you very simple question: what steps have you taken to block porn in your household? None? In that case, why do you want the government to do what you are too lazy to do?

        • mujey apnay ilawa pooray pakisan ki fikar hai bhai balkay saarey musalmaano ki, chooti sooch na rakho bhai .main nay apnay ghar main porn block ki hai likin main chahata hoon k poora pakistan achaa ho jai ,kia meray ghar walon main koi office school ya unversity nahi jata?kia bahar ka ghalat mahool meray ghar walon ko nahi begaar sakta?main chata hoon sarey musalmaan achay ho jai akhir is main samajh na aney wali kon si baat hai.kia HUZOUR MOHAAMAD (s.a.w) ye nahi chatay thay k sab musalmaan hoon aur sab janat main jai sheetan k chungal se bach kar ????? bhai asaan maslo ko apni khoahishaat ki waja se mushkil na banao .is duniya main koi naik kaam mushkil nahi likin hum khud usey apni khuhishaat ki waja se usey mushkil banatey hain .is mulk main har tarah ki tarakki ho sakti hai islam k saath likin hum irada tu karein .

          • Tum pooray pakistan aur sari dunya ke muslmano ke maame lagte ho ke tumhein fikr ho rehi hai. Tum apne kaam se kam rakho aur logon ki freedoms mein dakhl andazi na karo jaise ke woh tumhari freedoms mein nahin karte.

            • is ko kisi ki freedom main dhakhal dena nahi kehtay q k main kisi ko danday k zoor pe zabardasti nai kar raha ,main yahan sirf apni baat kar raha hoon jis tarah aap loog yahan comments kar rahay ho us hi tarah main bhi.

          • It’s people like you who think they own the whole country and society. Ziada khudaayi khidmatgaar ban-nay ki zarurat nahi. Itna he islam k usoolo per chalnay ka shoq hai to pehly sahi islaami hukoomat kyun nahi le kr aatay?

            corrupt leaders jinko kalma tak parhna nahi aata, unky under rehny kak bohat shoq hai?

            baray aaye logo ko deen sikhaanay walay.

            Live and let live.

            Pakistan is a free country.

            • islami hukomat lana mushkil hai likin jitna kar saktey hain utna tu karein ,aur jahan tak leader ko sudharnay ka mamla hai wo to sab ka farz banta hai unko sudharney ka mera bhi aur aap ka bhi.likin mujey ye baat samjh nahi ai aap ko meri baat itni karvi q lagi bhai ,aap ko jis tarah personal life guzarni hai guzaro ,koi aap k saath zabardasti tu nahi kar raha hai na. Aur aap ney farmaya pakistan free country hai ?is ka matlab kia hoa?har country ka alag alaq qanoon hai bhai america,europian countries saudi arab ,china iran. pakistan k bhi 1971 ka aain hai aur government ka haq hai wo islami qawaneen banai is main aap ko itna bura q lag raha hai?ye islamai jhamoria pakstan hai koi secular country nahi hai.

        • Hey porn lover Mr. Shahid Saleem, how many people know in Pakistan how to block the site?
          If education level of Pakistan would have been that good lots of problems will never have existed.
          You are the kind of sicko and wacko who is so shameless that he openly declares his disgusting nature.

          • Tell me, when you have a virus, what do you do? You go out and buy anti-virus software, don’t you? If you want some software to play mp3s, what do you do? You download it, don’t you?

            Were you born knowning how to install antivirus or play mp3s? No. But you learn. So if you want to install filtering software, what do you do? You…buy a cd or download the software.

            What a stupid stupid argument you came up with Sohaib. It’s as if you were born without the ability to reason logically.

            And I have not openly declared that I like porn, you have accused me because your tiny tiny brain cannot understand that someone who points a flaw in a system (NO TRANSPARENCY IN CENSORSHIP SYSTEM) does NOT mean he is pro-porn. But what can I expect, we have seen more than a taste of how you reason (or fail to reason in this case).

            — If education level of Pakistan would have been that good lots of problems will never have existed.

            Like what? Murder? Burglery? Car snatching? People smoking cigarettes? All would never exist? And yet, they are on a daily basis responsible for more deaths than the internet.

            Heh we live in a country that cannot figure out whether http://tribune.com.pk/story/349709/to-ban-or-not-to-ban-conflicting-reports-on-aswj-ban-causes-confusion/ is banned or not (despite being linked to banned SSP that HAS KILLED PEOPLE) and yet you worry about the poor internet.

            • If you are directly approaching someone with saying “Mr. Porn”, so I have a little title for you “Mr.Dumb”!

              Why don’t the PTA uses media/ hosts any additional programs throughout the country to teach the people how to use the internet, how to protect their selves online, how to block any website! Dude get some life! When your country people knows clearly how to send a friend request, and blocks someone on facebook then they must know how to block a website!

      • 90% of the Internet is porn. All other websites stream data of other kinds of websites and move because porn websites their IPs are closely linked. If porn is blocked, those websites cannot be accessed too. Musharraf tried a blanket ban on porn, resulting all data flow stopped this caused the Internet cable broke it cost Pakistan US$900 million. A tremendous loss to Pakistan financially. Porn websites do not flow independently. It is simple those who do not want to watch porn should not, That will save Pakistan a lot of money PTA blocks websites, but it has to be paid via the tax-payers money to do that, money which can be better spent on other problems like supplying water to your house.

  • Aamir,

    Sana Saleem a prominent activist tweeted how this firewall will control HTTPS and they will be able to sniff inside HTTPS traffic. i tried to correct her but she was reluctant and gave reference to the following link http://bolobhi.org/the-dangers-of-a-content-filtration-system/ to correct my knowledge :)

    she was quoting point number 29 from the RFP and interestingly that specific point is:

    29. The solution should also support Web based administration via HTTP or HTTPS.

    Now even a person with least IT knowledge will understand that they want the “firewall/url block” software’s gui to be controlled/administer via web (over secure channel)

    but she is reading it like this:

    @sanasaleem: @cyrenity point 29. Access to HTTPs and able to control it. Essentially the certificate will then be provided by authorities

    even her own logic is invalid but she replied: “Sorry cant take your word for it, when facts are suggest otherwise.”

    i have even mentioned this exaggeration to @jehan_ara who also seems to be supporting these activists but didn’t get insight from her on this issue. I believe it’s her responsibility (come on she is the president of PASHA) to educate these so called journos and activists about facts and realities before jumping into their bandawgon and start supporting them blindly.

    • Sana Saleem knows nothing about IT! Reading bunch of links and jumping to the conclusion, her ‘kind’ will do anything to justify their claims.

      Jehan Ara shared link regarding censorship on her FB wall and I told her that there should be some legal procedure to block the websites and she agreed to it.

    • Its quite unfortunate that non relevant people get the power to sabotage any thing happening in our country. Like Kalabagh dam is purely technical issue and should be dealt by engineers only; Formation of provinces is solely administrative issue and politicians have no right to mislead masses. But this is happening with every field :(

  • And for ppl who don’t know about how secure is HTTPS/SSL.

    1. HTTPS/SSL itself is unbreakable, however in the past hackers successfully cracked the underlying crypto mechanisms e.g. an expoit in MD5. it was not that SSL is broken. it was an vulnerable crypto.

    2. They JUST can’t start sniffing HTTPS/SSL from a live traffic of GIGS of bandwith, such attempt may take hours of effort to hack into a signal SSL sessions (That is definitly unliekly to break FYI)

    3. “Access to HTTPs and able to control it. Essentially the certificate will then be provided by authorities”; Are they(google/fb/yahoo) going to provide private/secret key for their CA to Paki authorities? This is a big joke.

    • Man have your eyes been closed??? Do you know that CAs give out certificates for sites to law enforcement purposes? Do you know that devices exist (for sale for years) to do man-in-the-middle attacks for SSL?

      For example,


      Do you know CAs give out wildcard certificates? Some details on
      why and how here: http://www.crypto.com/blog/spycerts/

      Did you completely miss the news about the iranian hacker who broke into a CA in europe last year and generated fake certificates for gmail, google sites, etc? All Iranian traffic potentially was watched. After his breakin was detected (and very early), it was found out that the same CA had given out bad certificates to many people without their knowledge (bad security on their part). Does that make you feel safe???

      After all the events in Arab Spring, where ALL OF THE FILTERING SYSTEMS were put in place for the EXACT SAME REASONS our RFP claims, why do you trust the government with this power??? Do you know what the current system gives us? It makes them follow a process to block a site or url. And the process is slow. And lots of people find out about the blocked site because it’s a manual update. And that is a GOOD THING because it gives people at ISPs some idea of what’s going on.

      • Man in the Middle Attacks are possible, but it takes loads of resources. I forgot the link to Self Reddit where there was a detailed discussion on these attacks, you could have gotten the clear picture then. The conclusion was that these attacks can be carried out but they are not easy and they depend on lot of factors and some of them are even out of hands of our dear PTA.

        Banning is necessary, but it should be transparent. There should be some legal procedure through which website can be blocked.

        Yes, links are currently being blocked which are ‘anti-army’ and ‘anti-Pakistani’ but it dosnt mean there should be no ban. Porn and blasphemous content needs to be blocked but nothing else unless illegal (fraud, phishing etc).

  • Janab Sadiq sahab – can u plz 1st introduce urself?

    Secondly, have u read what these so called “pseudo intellectual naïve activists” have highlighted in their press releases & press kit @ http://bolobhi.org/press-release-public-statements/press-kit/national-url-filtering-blocking-system/

    Nobody’s against the firewall software per-se. Does the RFP clarify who will own/run/manage/approve/decline blocking requests? Do u think that the PM’s blocking committee is responsible & representative enough to be entrusted with this role? Do u know how many and who exactly are part of PM’s blocking committee? Who appoints them? When is it re-constituted? How often do they actually meetup? Why isn’t there any representative from the civil society, academia, industry, etc. on that panel or committee?

    One more imp ques is that if ISP’s contribute to ICT R&D Fund (by law), does that mean they can authorize “any” software or project to be funded from that kitty? This is ICT R&D Fund’s vision as per their website, “To transform Pakistan’s economy into a knowledge based economy by promoting efficient, sustainable and effective ICT initiatives through synergic development of industrial and academic resources.” Does this RFP in any way fall into this vision?

    Let’s all of bring more transparency & accountability to our “bureaucracy” and “politicians” who think they’ve a carte blanche clean chit to do anything they “think” is good!

    • Baba jee, i second you here. We should talk about bringing transparency, instead of boycotting filtration by calling it blanket ban.

      • admin sahab, who’s mr. sadiq. can u plz post his profile or is he also one of “those” behind the missing persons?

        • I ve requested him to allow us give his intro, for which a response is awaited. But he has a right to remain anonymous, just like you.

          • Wow! I am quite surprised that you let someone blog without knowing his previous background. Haven’t you been scammed enough already? Remember, LTE?

            • thk u saad for the stealing my point — can u believe that such a blog can let anonymous ppl write posts — in short, there’s no content authenticity!

  • I think you’re not well aware of the consequences of implementing such solution on a centralised level. Have you imagined the traffic load on such system and how our local software firms will cope to such traffic as most expensive solutions avalable also had various issues in handling it. One thing is sure it will definitely slow down the internet. Also the policy of blocking a certain website is also very controversial and there are some websites which were blocked without any valid reason like http://www.rollingstone.com/ is still blocked.

  • — But no one is stating the hard facts that none of these things would be hurt because if that were true, all this would be happening right now as well when the system is being run manually.

    Okay, mr smarty pants, please tell me why rollingstone.com is banned because of ONE SINGLE ARTICLE about the army, and yet the paper edition of the magazine is available in many bookstores. Even sold by libertymagazine.com in Karachi, delivers nationwide. Is the article true? Is the article false? If it is true, then…

    Who ordered the ban? Who in the world cannot view the article? Just People In Pakistan. What does that tell you about the current system, and how automating will only help the elites in power block more such sites?

    Further more, when you start your post by saying the people presenting an opposing view are liars or half liars, it automatically makes you look bad. AD HOMINEM ATTACKS to start with. Does not help your point of view at all.

    — What started out as an effort to create local jobs and build local capacity, is now being demonized by people who did not even bother to do their own research.

    Hey, let’s build more prisons. Near your house. That will create more jobs! Wait, what’s the matter, you don’t like having criminals housed a few streets from you? Why not? Why do you have efforts to create local jobs?!?!?

    Actually, your point makes no sense. Setting up an automated system will get rid of more jobs than make them. Unless those jobs are people sitting around updating the lists…

    — We are not going to have stricter filtration than we already do.

    I wished that you had read the SAME RFP that you linked to. I’ll quote from it:

    11. The system should be rapidly programmable to support new protocols and applications.

    That is stricter than what we have. PERIOD.

    Lastly, no ISP “donates” to the ICT fund. They are FORCED to pay for it, whether they want to or not. Please don’t tell any “half-lies” of your own.

    • Shahid Saleem, I would love to have your views on calling this filtration a “Blanked Ban”

      • I don’t know anyone who calls it that. I certainly don’t.

        All I have been against from the start, even posted in many many comments on this blog over the past year, is that I am not against blocking sites (futile gesture but whatever). I am against people watching my traffic. Why do you think I use https:// for sites that offer http:// and https:// ?

        That’s what these “filtering” machines will do.

        • I was sent this screenshot, attached above, it has details of ppl calling the filtration a blanket ban.

          • This simply is a tool that simplifies filtration. So its just one move ahead in say a blanket ban. Dont assume the system will be transparent and be used for what it is intended for. See the wider consequences of the system not just as this flawed article suggests making an manual system automatic.

  • lets just ban the internet in PK….our solution to all our problems BAN. Ban Indian movies, Ban foreign
    Channels and this Ban lit goes on and on. We want gov. to ban things for us, but we don’t want to control ourselves. Crazy

  • How can anyone trust a government, especially ours, to police the Internet in such a way? Censorship is a bad thing. Period. And what makes the firewall so bad is that it comes at the cost of other technological progress.

  • I don’t see the point of ‘creating jobs’ and saving time and money of our great nation by…uh,what?…censoring the web? Pretty cool logic there. Currently, manual filtering is done, yes! To replace that, automated filtering needs be done, yes! But who’s to say with such a sophisticated system in place, the government won’t ban, say, all sites that tend to criticize the government? Who is to say the capacity to block and filter ’50 million URLs’ is then used to shut up freedom of speech online.

    To the so-called experts citing their technical knowledge, I must say you also need to have a tad bit knowledge of social sciences to actually discern the risk such a filtering process can pose. The notions cited by PTA when banning websites in the past have been very, very vague and undefined. For instance, a Rollingstone article is still banned just because it tells how Pak military spends the bulk of budget. It’s like ‘we at PTA don’t like the truth that is told, so we will ban it’ kinda policy that is being followed by PTA. In view of that, the very ‘ability’ to implement a blanket ban is horrifying.

    Who knows tomorrow a cracked judge who thinks internets is tubes and facebook is a zionist conspiracy tells the government to ban it over some controversial page? Guess what, the next day we will be in stone age, with God’s grace. Perhaps the PTA fellows need a perspective before they are allowed to meddle with internet!

  • I think the article missed some good arguments. Privacy has nothing to do with the content filtration system. The system is being installed to filter or block certain objection-able websites not monitor people. If the point is; the system can also be used to monitor traffic then that’s naive because the government can already do that (as is being done by every government in the world including those who champion freedom of information and freedom of speech). Regarding https, any agency would need collusion from certification authorities to tap in to https traffic, without that it is not possbile (ref: i am cs major). And again, the government can already do that, it doesn’t need a filtration system to do that.

  • Dont want to argue, but I understand what this whole thing means and full support this filtering.

  • I have been reader of propakistani blog posts since long and I have observed that they (may be not all the authors of the blog) are religiously inclined and from time to time issues like this blocking of adult websites very clearly reveal this inclination. Even in one of the blog post titled “The firewall Controversy: Internet Censorship in Real or its Just Blockade of Obscene Material?” Aamir goes on to give a verdict that is entirely subjective and unproven:

    “…as a matter of fact the repercussions of explicit websites are destroying our society moral values and increasing heinous crimes.”

    And then says:

    “You will agree that Pakistan is a free nation and Pakistanis are free to say anything against anyone, without involving national security and religion.”

    In the same article Aamir writes in a comments and I quote:

    “I believe if something is prohibited by religion(s) then it will have some grounds. You probably need to consult more researches.”

    I really respect Aamir but strongly disagree with him in that religion just like language has no absolute interpretation. It’s relative and very much personnel. No two people would agree on a common interpretation and the abundant number of religious sects in Pakistan is a clear proof of that. I would not like others to impose their interpretation on me as long as I am not violating others rights and doing something it in my bedroom. Propakistani should keep religion out of their blog posts and avoid stating bogus statements like if religion says something then it will have some grounds. One should put facts on table than give generalized and sweeping statements.

    In the current post THE UNKNOWN AUTHOR (don’t know what are his credentials) completely misses the point that it’s making the process of filtering a lot more easier and it is the problems that this ease would create that people are mourning at. Acts and mental level of our government and people speaks abound for itself for the past 64 years. Just for the sake of argument we don’t need your diving into technicalities, we are talking about simple things like freedom of speech, inability/incompetence of government or our mullahs to decide what’s good and what’s wrong, what should be censored and what not. Your beating about the technicalities bush and not discussing the real issue is irritating. All censorship is some way or the other rooted in politics, power, economics, religion and social values and all these things ought to be dynamic to accept changes with the passage of time. Other wise it would create a deadlock like Christianity created at the time of Galileo, for which the Church offered an apology after one whole century. Someone rightly said that nothing is permanent except change.

    Grow up guys, let me decide for myself as to what is good for me and what’s not for my bedroom. You should keep your nose out as long as I am doing no harm to others and keeping things to my bedroom.

    • why should propakisatni keep religion out their blog posts? Don’t they have freedom of speech like you do?

      • Religion, race, ethnicity and nationality blur your viewpoints. They add a pinch of bias and prejudice into your thinking. When your mission statement clearly says that your blog is for Pakistan Telecom and IT news, then it is inappropriate to look at things from religious point of views. Given the level of religious freedom in Pakistan, if I challenge the author for a religious discussion on the topic in hand then I am sure that most of my replies would be censored straight away. So the author should not take support from something of which he has no knowledge (by author I mean admin). Although it would be quite lame of me to challenge him because it is not a religious blog. The author, undoubtedly, has freedom of speech regarding religion but this Telecom and IT blog is not suitable and tolerant enough for that.

  • First of all, please update your dictionaries and start using the word “opponents” instead of “activists”.

    Secondly, of course ISPs are in favor of centralized system because they don’t want to put human resource on this non-profit thing. ISPs are a business and they are here to earn money. It’s government’s job to filter internet, not ISPs.

    Thirdly, this centralized filtration system is a sham. Because it is not going to filter offensive (especially explicit nudity and text) from Google, Google Images, YouTube, Wikipedia, deviantArt, MetaCafe and other Art websites.

    Pornography, especially nudity is just nudity and nudity is not allowed in Islam and you can’t justify it by saying this is for educational or art but this is not. You have to filter out all kind of nudity.

    Many naive proponents (look I didn’t used the useless word “Activist”) think that YouTube doesn’t allow nudity but this is wrong. There are many videos on YouTube that have nudity in them.

    Similarly, Google Images display results with pornographic (all kind of sexual material including nudity) without visiting the website.

    You have to filter out all kind of nudity, whether it’s a photography, cartoon, painting, sculpture, text or in whatever format.

    I’ll say it again, this proposed centralized filtration is a SHAM, a FRAUD because it is not going to filter nudity and pornography from famous websites including Google Images, YouTube, Wikipedia, deviantArt, MetaCafe and list will goes on and on.

    If you want an effective filtration that will have real results and for the betterment of Pakistani society then you HAVE to filter out all these websites. That is the only solution. Otherwise, it’s a SHAM, a big FRAUD.

  • This is not a technical issue at all. The repercussions of such a filtering system will again through Pakistan in the Dark Ages.

  • I would like an answer from proponents of this censorship.

    Is it true that Rolling Stones website http://www.rollingstone.com/ is banned?

    If so then why? Is it because of porn? Or due to political reasons? How you can argue that no website will be blocked due to political reasons? Admit it that your naive argument that censorship will only be used to ban porn is busted.

  • I don’t know what the author of this article is about but clearly he is missing the point. As some of the people have already mentioned in the comments, the sole fact of having the ability to ban any site rapidly and comprehensively is horrifying.
    Why? The example of Rollingstone.com is cited above. Let’s take a few more. Blogspot, Facebook, balochhal … there was another blog that propagated breaking of Pakistan (the posts were so idiotic that people actually laughed at it, but our PTA decided to ban it instead).
    With videos circulating where Pakistan army is seen shooting people dead in cold blood or criticism is made against the military institution, how many more websites will be put to ban list just like that? How do we know that the content filtering will only be done for porn websites and no other? Our leaders are too insecure to let any dissenting voice raise itself, so they would stop it as soon as possible under the umbrella of National Security. It’s not just about technology, it is also about freedom of speech and such a system that can block 50 million urls, I would prefer it not installed in my country.

  • Zero Hedge today, has an article on o promising Bibi bombs and planes if Bibi holds off til after the election. Is this a great leader or wot? Putting his wishes ahead of the country’s security. “I promise to protect and defend, etc”. Oh never mind.

  • First of all blocking internet does not create jobs. Second, this firewall is basically government treating people like little children who can’t differentiate between right and wrong. And the author is so immature that he needs government to block objectionable material for him, because the moments he sees that, he will start acting crazy. That is pretty much what I got from the whole blog.

  • Asalam-o-alekum,

    being a pakistani and firstly being a muslim we don’t need any defination of freedom from non-muslims, our freedom starts under the restrictions what ALLAH almighty has defined and and it ends where he says stop ok…so shat-up to champions of freedom of speech from a Muslim and a pakistani…this world is of ALLAH and his prophet (p.b.u.h) if u will go against their law than ready for more bad what’s happening in pakistan..and please don’t argue with me about what taliban doing, i am really surprised by what u educated people doing

    • Who is we? Please speak on your own behalf not for all of us. And we don’t need lectures from u as to what is good for us, and what is bad for us as a muslim. This firewall has to go.

    • why can’t we argue with you what taliban are doing? do you support taliban and al-qaida?

    • @Talha
      And I want you to keep your religious thoughts with you, I mean who the hell are you telling us to “shut up”. While you even can’t write or spell words properly, but still want to interfere in others lives like a cruel dictator. huh:(
      And this is a tech blog, and is not a religious madrasah, So please go away and find a suitable place for you, and in the last it’s our basic rights to argue any restriction/regulation which will limit or manipulate our freedom of information.

      • @Talha
        You must shut up and listen to other people what they are saying. The reason is they all are well educated and talk sensibly. It is you who carry a mind of monkey is still living in the stone age. One may ask you what you are doing here at a tech site while you must be getting trained for a suicide attack in a religious madrasah? Keep your personal and religious thoughts with you and stop preaching.

      • Zafar Sahab agar Aqal mandi ka taluk Itna hi zyada Education say ya Words ki spelling krnay say hota tou Ap k yah educated countries So called Super-powers Aj dunia ka ya hashar na kar rahay hotay…

        First World war or es say agay honay wali jango main
        akir kitnay muslims ka kirdar raha hay….

        ” 8 crorr k kareeb dunia k log maray gye, agar tmharay parhay likhay or educated countries humain yah tohfa dayna chahtay hain tou khuda ka wasta hay hamain maaf rakho ayse education say or ayse technology say ”

        And Shut-up To you Khuda ka shukar kro k en ki war of terror main tmhara apna koi zaya nhe howa wrna main pochta k Khud-kush hamla awar ku Banta hay koi or fanatic kon kisay bnata hay ok …. apny rooms main bayth kar batain karnay walo aqal tmharay pass nhi hay…

        or han aik baat ka jawab day dayna ,aqal mando…
        akir en molvio k pass kya tha k enho nay PORI Nato OR AMerican Forces ko afghanistan main Shikast Daydi hay…yah main nhi american media khud kar raha hay …baray aqal mand bantay, dunia main furture wepons ka charcha karnay walay AK47 say har gye…hansi ati hay tum jaysy so called muslmano per

  • What websites need to be blocked and why?

    And does anyone know the link between pornography and rape?

  • @Talha great ending ! Activists or oponents just go off ! Please stop beating the lame excuse of freedom of internet! you techy people (so called educated boys) just tell me dnt u have acces to porn although it is blocked! U guyz start telling people how to bybass ban straight after the ban! when u can bypass then please happily go to ur bedroom and bypass the ban! And aftr that please do find a way to bypass the death too! khuda ka wasta hai yar ya kisi ka bhi jis ka wasta ap pe asar krta hai please let them save our kids 4m becoming a pray of porn!aur Agr Allah nain mere hacking skills ko itni taqat di k main porn erradicate kr sakn internet se tu main aisa kr k rahn ga , bt if nt atleast i can try ! Aur by the way internet aur privacy ka dor dor ka rishta ni boss ! ap main se kisi ki bhi privacy ko tu main bi tahs nehs kr sakta hn aur log tu es se bi aagy nikal gae hn

    • so Allah and Rasool pbuh said to block rolling stones website? go shat-up you so called educated boys. you’ll die one day and Allah will ask you why you support the ban on the article that was critical of pakistani military in the name of porn. fear from the day of judgment. you want to block political websites and website critical of government and military in the name of porn.

  • Talha, you cannot just say please do not argue with me about the taliban. if you believe in islam, are your priorities in an islamic order? Are you this vocal about the education of women, the equality of minorities, against abuse, against helping the poor? It seems you go against Allahs law by ignoring more serious problems. We have polio, we have illiteracy, we have people throwing acid on women, we have girls sold into marriage, we have abject poverty, and you are putting your effort and defending internet censorship? So they government can block sites that report on the slaughter of balochistan? or documentaries critical of the government? have you looked at the link between pornography and rape? Do you know how they are related? When pornography is legalized, rape and sexual crimes decrease. Why are you not vocal about child abuse?

    • To No Says:

      Aap ny mujh sy jo jo sawal es rply main keyah hain, yah wohi confusion hay jo hamara media phaylata hay


      Q1. KYa main agar Taliban ko condemn nahi karta tou Es ka yah Matlab hay k main en ki her cheez ko jaeez samajhta hu ?

      Ans. Ok, Tou jawab yah hay k “En ki her wo cheez jo Islam K khilaf hay Main as a Pakistani Es ko condemn karta hu or karta rahu ga ok <>

      Q2. kya main Orton ki Taleem k khilaaf hu ?
      Kya main Ghareebo ki maddad k khilaaf hu ?
      Kya main Orton pay acid phayknay k haq main hu?
      Kya main Jahalat k haq main hu ?
      Kya main en tamam masail sy Bhaag raha hu jo hamaray mulk main hain or Censorship k maslay ko bahas bna Raha hun ?

      <> Farman Hay “Apny ap ko Ksi Gunnah Main Zyada Arsa Mubtala Mat rehnay do Wrna Es ka Nuqsaan Sirf tumhain hi nahi blkay Tmharay erd gird Logo Ko b hoga”

      So who ever you are Nazar Dorrao tou ap ko pata chalay ga in-reality Hamaray nazdeek Jahalat wahee say Shuru hoti hay jaha Sy ALLAH k Law’s ko Nazar Andaaz keya Jana Shuru hota hay….

      Islamic Shareya IS the only Solution and I will Figth Till my death For the implementation, I will not allow Secular mind Set to Govern My beloved Pakistan

      Love Islam
      Love Pakistan
      Love I.S.I

      • Funny, last I checked ISI killed lots of taliban and yet you defend taliban AND say “love ISI”. Do you even think before posting??

        • Do you even think before posting!!!

          Shocked than keep it up, i am not gona change my statement and surly want u not to discuss it further more…:)

          And where u got the point i am defending Taliban ??
          Are You Mad ??
          If i am Defending Islam you people call it Defending Taliban?

          And if Some-One Following Islam in The right way i have right to speak for His freedom just like i speak for the sake of Islam Bcz he is My brother as Islam Teaches…

          Peace :)

          • Last I checked, no one even mentioned taliban until you did. Your use of he word hijacked this discussion even if it was not your intention.

            I’ll ask you the same question I asked “q” above. If you want porn blocked, what steps did you take to block it in your household? Before asking the government to block it NATIONWIDE and to spend your & mine tax money to build the “cage”, what PERSONAL steps did you take?

            • Wel,
              i never wanted to go in further Discussion but you people are insisting….

              Just Like American’s C.I.A or Their media, They Say that Pakistani Military and I.S.I Believe That There are Good Taliban’s And Bad Taliban’s hmm…

              So Shocking News for You is That, i believe the Same ok And As a Muslim if i believe the same than i do have sympathy with them… As far as I.S.I is Concerned, wel wel I believe they are the creators
              of Taliban and if u say they Killed Taliban’s than First Tell me Which one They have Killed ???

              Afghan Taliban or Tehreek-ay-taliban ???

              First Decide That than we will talk..

              • Some of the intelligence that the CIA uses to attack Afghan Taliban in tribal areas comes from ISI. Everyone acknowledges this. Except…you.

                • Yeah!

                  You come to the right point….C.I.A USES I.S.I instructions to kill the one I.S.I want’s, to be honest You Answered your Own question….Remember the difference between Afghan Mujhideen and Tehreek-ay-Taliban, Both are very different….Tehreek-ay-taliban Is the group taht is responsible for attacking on even mosques and tombs… So i dont even call them Muslim…But are the afghan Mujhids are same as Tehreek-ay-taliban and if u think so Than your Knowledge lacks….Dont be Confused about Tehreek-ay-taliban they these are funded agents or brainwashed Innocent …but No more

                  • And the taliban have killed more Muslims than porn. Now, go away and let us focus on the problem: untransparent censorship.

                    • Shahid Sahab kya ap sirf Killing ko hi aik masla smajhtay hain jis ka hal Islam Nay diya…grow up Dunya bohat Barri hay…

                      Mayray sath sath Ap ka bhi yahi Aqeeda hona chahiyah k Guna sy bachnay ki takat or Naiki krny ki Quvat hamary pass Nhi hy.. Koshish hy sirf hamaray pass or Agar main Allah k hukam k mutabik Ksi achay kaam ki qoshish kar raha hu tou khwa-ma-khwa main Mukhalfat sy ap ko kya mil raha hay….hmm

  • Dear Ali Sadiq,

    Stop with the name calling and declaring liars. Your article itself is naive and your naivete shows through as well.

    See i just did to you what you are doing to others, passing judgments left right and center.

    And you need to get some perspective on the issue, you need to zoom out a bit.

    Its not just bits and bytes and automations, you need to understand the implications of system capabilities and how they relate to policy matters.

    As for things being blown out of proportion, maybe the ICTRnD fund should have done a better job explaining their intent and purposes and that comes with good communication and a sound understanding of needs and objectives. That was never communicated well and that is just bad PR.

  • Dear Mr. Sadiq,
    You are not the brightest puppy in the litter. For anyone who is remotely connected to technology what the PTA wants to do is not only harmful to individuals but also to students, businesses, and pretty much anyone connected to the internet. censorship is a complete waste of public money which can be deployed to so many other uses especially in a country like Pakistan. While I do understand that this can be different to each individual and I do respect that. However, advocating censorship makes you a) not very bright, b) someone who has been asked to do a hack job, or c) both a and b.

    More than your personal view on censorship is the half truths you yourself indulge in while taking on the “naive” activists. First of all no company “donates” to the ICT R&D Fund. They have to. Secondly, the ICT R&D Fund’s mandate as per its Charter does not include spending 10 mil USD on censorship. The Fund is meant to ensure that cellular and connectivity services are extended to remote areas where it is not commercially viable to offer such services and even subsidize them. Thirdly, an “automated” system already exists at PIE which can block URL’s so its not a question of “automation”. The RFP is looking for more sophisticated software which can filter, block, and also sniff communication. To position this RFP as “automation” is intellectually dishonest and incorrect.

    I do hope at some point you can either read the RFP and analyze its purpose and rethink your position. If you don’t care to do so I’d appreciate it if you could at least not distort the facts.

    Shakir Husain

    • The points raised by Mr. Shakir Hussain are both true and logical. The writer of the article seems to have been deputed with a duty to pave the way for such blatant censorship by convincing the internet users through his half baked arguments. In his article, where he stands are very slippery grounds. I think the idea behind setting up the fund was never the one for which it has planned to spend such an hefty amount over the creation of a national firewall. This needs to be readily shunned by Fund and use this money instead for extending the internet serves to the far flung areas too with improved speeds and more cheaper in accordance with its very basis of creation.

  • It is not the matter of supporting the activists or despising them as have been mentioned in the article written by a pseudo expert of IT. The fact of the matter is no type of restriction in the form of ISPs blocking websites or censorship through a national firewall is acceptable. Any form of censorship undermines the freedom of users of internet. It is none of the business of any government what the users chose to see and read. Period. If any of the users among them have problems with some of the content, they must bear with it like many other irritable things in society are borne by the people who don’t like those ones.

  • It is not the matter of supporting the activists or despising them as have been mentioned in the article written by a pseudo expert of IT. The fact of the matter is any type of restriction in the form of ISPs blocking websites or censorship through a national firewall is UNACCEPTABLE. Any form of censorship undermines the freedom of users of the internet. It is none of the business of any government what the users chose to see and read. Period. If any of the users among them have problems with some of the content, they must bear with it like many other irritable things in society are borne by the people who don’t like those ones.

  • we need to protect our religious beliefs and culture .Equally important is to protect our country from enemies of the state,especially India who has yet to accept our existence.

  • National ICT R&D Fund is full of Dumb idiots that have now idea what they do …. yet they do .. its why do we let this happen. A well thought of incubatur is being managed and run by “BAD EGSS” … hence it hatches nothing at all, rather than issues which no one agrees to , or which are only there to make money by lootign the donors t othe fund by also idriectly looting the oublic via our taxes!!!!

  • Zafar Sahab agar Aqal mandi ka taluk Itna hi zyada Education say ya Words ki spelling krnay say hota tou Ap k yah educated countries So called Super-powers Aj dunia ka ya hashar na kar rahay hotay…

    First World war or es say agay honay wali jango main
    akir kitnay muslims ka kirdar raha hay….

    ” 8 crorr k kareeb dunia k log maray gye, agar tmharay parhay likhay or educated countries humain yah tohfa dayna chahtay hain tou khuda ka wasta hay hamain maaf rakho ayse education say or ayse technology say ”

    And Shut-up To you Khuda ka shukar kro k en ki war of terror main tmhara apna koi zaya nhe howa wrna main pochta k Khud-kush hamla awar ku Banta hay koi or fanatic kon kisay bnata hay ok …. apny rooms main bayth kar batain karnay walo aqal tmharay pass nhi hay…

    or han aik baat ka jawab day dayna ,aqal mando…
    akir en molvio k pass kya tha k enho nay PORI Nato OR AMerican Forces ko afghanistan main Shikast Daydi hay…yah main nhi american media khud kar raha hay …baray aqal mand bantay, dunia main furture wepons ka charcha karnay walay AK47 say har gye…hansi ati hay tum jaysy so called muslmano per…

  • It didn’t make sense to me , how can an automatic system create more jobs than manual system?

    If they install that thingy, can you guarantee that PTA will not block whatever and whenever they want?

    Filtering traffic is good thing for Pakistan , i mean if it stops terrorism (to some extent) pornography and other object able content.

    But that automatic system can stop any website any internet service with few clicks , i am afraid i won’t be able to use torrents in future or maybe Propakistani also. what you think?

    • Well see that is the problem with democracy. It doesn’t prevent a masses who do not understand the problem (transparency) from doing what they want (filtering).

      You will always be outvoted. See the defenders of the filtering system in the comments to see why.

  • It’s as simple as 1-2-3

    If I want to watch PORN! it’s my life, my decision, and I AM GOING TO HELL! it is my personal act. I am going to my grave, and I will be punished for whatever I do.

    Islam, DOES NOT support tyranny in any way. Nor should our courts. STOP THE FILTERING!

    You are forcing your own ideas on to others. STOP THIS!

    • With due respect porn websites are also reasons of crimes like rape and all disgusting crimes . Better understand meanings of an Islamic state. In an Islamic state only Islamic rules and laws are applicable. If you have any problem with those rules please move away.. and Pakistan was formed on ideology of Islam ..

      • With due respect porn websites are also reasons of crimes like rape and all disgusting crimes


        All the evidence points the other way, ie more porn = less rape.

      • Lame argument, were their no gang rapes and crimes before internet….Do you believe all of them reported before internet?

        If people are immature to use information technology for knowledge and education, just get it back from them, these stupid will never learn how to use internet??? They can’t be productive and ever watch porn???

        Is our media either print or electronic is balanced? Does they not remove critics over them from their fan pages on facebook? How you guarantee this will not happen?

        You use computers, electricity, tools, machineries, and internet all are created by these western “non-muslims”????
        Momin woh hota hai jo apnay ehad se hum aahang hota hai…

        Do you know only one platform is left for freedom of speech for this nation and i.e. internet?
        Only one resource is left to know how behind we are compared to all world i.e. internet?

        I think we must educate our non-educated as well as educated brothers to use it productively. Banning in current scenario is not good for general internet users in Pakistan…
        Develop culture and mindset to handle the situation, I believe it will give results…

  • lets talk about facts here 99% of Pakistani youth uses porn websites i am an internet marketer and media buyer from largest websites over internet and deal with many websites to buy their advertisements for my business . let me tell you a simple but very painful truth , In month of Muharam this year i was talking with a network manager who also deal with adult website ads and according to him in porn industry there is a large portion of online traffic from pakistan and i requested him to show me stats and i was ashamed and shocked hundreds and thousands of people from Pakistan were online even that was muhram , being a pakistani being a muslim that was a really sad moment for me and i was very embarrassed after looking at their stats . Yes my business depends on internet but i do support such actions from govt which block access to such websites

  • I read the above article and all I felt I was reading was a PR for a propaganda. I am strongly against the measure of blocking any website because honestly this is the responsibility of parents (look up parental controls on web browsers) and individuals (If u take of offense at something avert your eyes or file a complaint at the site) and is not some government convenience to the people, in fact this is hindrance to the flow of information. One can staple the word obscene on a website and have it shutdown but the definition of the word varies from person to person especially in this country where obscenity describes anything from some music video on youtube for fundamentalist observers to pornography for more liberal observers. Problem is in Pakistan it is the fundamentalist groups that cry out the loudest and practically perform a witch hunt for any thing even slightly offensive to their fragile sensibility as evident by the shutting down sites like facebook or youtube that are not even reputed as adult sites just for one offensive video or personal page. I am sure everyone reading this is thinking “they posted a video about the prophet(P.B.U.H) so it was justified” well that is exactly what I am talking about. a more reasonable person would file a complaint with the website to shut the video down instead they petition to PTA to block it for everyone in Pakistan. as if they are doing any damage to the company! more likely they are causing inconvenience to anyone who may need to access the site. With the start of this absurd PTA project to block of any site reported as obscene more and more people are putting up sites for blocking these sites may or may not be obscene but all the same they are blocked because even if they articles such as the one above says they are smart people diligently blocking sites, reality is they don’t have the time nor do they care to investigate the sites reported to them for the alleged obscenity. They simply block them as they are reported in. Most informed web users will agree that this witch hunt has shut down a lot of good download sites. That is not the worst of it. No ISP can deny the burden on the network bandwidth for such massive blocking actions. In the end it is the people who actually use the internet pay the price for such absurd actions while those who have no business on the internet spend their day trying to get more sites shut down.









  • Pakistan ak Islamic mulak he. Sari sexy website, theator,cenma waghera band krne chahyen. Aj kal media ne logon ko zyada khrab kar rkha he.

    • Don’t forget “sexy ads” on any website, and also all gossip, fashion, and celebrity news on newspaper websites.



    1) If you want your ex back.
    (2) if you always have bad dreams.
    (3) You want to be promoted in your office.
    (4) You want women/men to run after you.
    (5) If you want a child.
    (6) You want to be rich.
    (7) You want to tie your husband/wife to be
    yours forever.
    (8) If you need financial assistance.
    (9) How you been scammed and you want to recover you lost money

  • close