Pakistan Issues Policy Directive for Blocking of Blasphemous and Indecent Content Through National URL Filtering System

products-box-url-filteringGovernment of Pakistan, through Ministry of Information Technology, has issued a policy directive (produced below) to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to implement URL filtration system to block blasphemous and indecent websites in Pakistan, reported Daily Jang today.

It is said that the directive was issued on direct orders of Mr. Pervaiz Ashraf, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, along with input from Mr. Asif Ali Zardar, the President of Pakistan.

It maybe recalled that implementation of URL Filtration System was first unveiled in February 2012 when ICT R&D Fund had asked for proposals from vendors for the filter system.

This URL Filtration system was later shelved, amid criticism in local and international media that alleged the system for potentially capping freedom of speech of common man. Others said that the system wasn’t transparent enough and that it could be used for personal and political means.

Now it is revealed that government has moved the directive (produced below) for the implementation of National URL Filtration System, a nationally centralized control panel for blocked the access of websites that are considered blasphemous or are indecent in nature.

From the content of policy directive, it appears that Pakistan Telecommunication Authority is made in-charge for the filtration of the websites. Under this new directive, PTA is given the mandate to take requisite measures for proactively and independently block the websites displaying the blasphemous and pornographic content.

Keeping in view the recent blockings of websites by PTA, it is feared that this planned URL filtration system will be used to mute the political and personal opposition of top government bodies.

It is likely that this new directive will be largely criticized by the masses as it does not address the transparency that was demanded for such a filtration system.

Check below the text of MoIT Policy Directive on blocking on Blasphemous and Indecent websites:

Subject: Policy directive for effective monitoring & control of obnoxious content (blasphemous & pornographic) over internet in Pakistan”,

The unchecked and free flow of blasphemous and pornographic content at mass level through internet in Pakistan is in direct friction with the basic principles of Islamic way of life as reflected in the Objectives Resolution as well as the articles 19 and 31 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Such obnoxious content also creates immense discomfort and dismay among the people of Pakistan besides shaking the very fabric of our socio-religious values. Furthermore, several petitions have also been filed in the superior judiciary whereby the courts have expressed their concerns over this and directed GoP to address these issues more effectively.

Therefore, it is imperative to have a sustainable solution to continuously monitor and control the display of blasphemous and pornographic content over internet in Pakistan without compromising the scope of article 19 of the constitution that guarantees right to freedom of speech and expression, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the glory of Islam etc.

In view of the foregoing the federal government is pleased to issue the following directives for compliance by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA):

i. PTA to establish at the earliest a dedicated unit while allocating appropriate funds/budget and human resources, supported by the state of the art technical solutions and upgraded call center, with the mandate to take requisite measures for proactively and independently blocking the websites displaying the blasphemous and pornographic content;

ii. It must be ensured that any system procured as per para 2 (i) does not interfere with the rights of the citizens as envisioned in the Objectives Resolution and articles 19 and 31of the Constitution of Pakistan or misused by anyone for political gains. The focus of this system shall remain ‘blasphemous and pornographic’ content;

iii. Concurrently, the Inter-Ministerial Committee already constituted for evaluation of websites will also continue its mandated work as per the ToRs.

3. This policy directive is issued with the approval of minster for information technology for the implementation with immediate effect.”

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK


  • Good Step..

    Ab “freedom of expression” k naam liwa “Sickulars” ko pait main merory pirry gaiy :)

    • Shahid Saleem

      When they block alleged crimes by influenctial politicians, they are not working FOR YOU but AGAINST YOU.

      Do you trust the government for providing security? No.
      Do you trust the government for providing electricity? No.
      Do you trust the government for providing clean water? No.
      Do you trust the government for providing gas for cooking? No.
      Do you trust the government for providing roads with no holes? No.
      Do you trust the government for firewalling internet? Yes!

      Sheeple. Sheeeeple.

    • Atif

      i agree with you brother

  • saqib

    if this system gets implemented then we cant even open the websites using proxies????

    any asnwer admin??

    • Atif

      Even if they block the materials.. there are so many way to open these site… u just have to be thar*i enough. lolz

      [Comment Edited]

  • and after it, your life gone in searching youtube porns :(

  • MMM

    grow up kids and learn how to hack.Then it will be easy for you to open blocked websites.And this thing is not new it is done all over the world for political benefits.So leave it

    • saba

      1st thing in using proxies it will too slow, u need a big connection and here in pak almost it dead,
      no doubt u can do, but with proper implementation not so easy… alot ways of site filtration
      its depend how much PTA take it serious….

  • Really?

    why should the government decide for me or any adult what to watch or read? I am an adult, i should be free to watch or read.

    Just stop with the censorship giving religious and social excuses.

    • Its right step for whole country dude not going to implement only on you and it’s the betterment of the society and is govt duty to control.

      If you are adult then go and rent out a movie and get a life!

      • Really?

        Betterment of society? really? its censorship and and the power to control information. The more power we give to control information the more abused it is.

        and rent a movie to get a life … lol

        next they decide i cant watch my rented movie. see.

  • babafukah

    PTA Y U KiLLiN My F*P Sessions :@

  • aamir

    Thanks to PTA I am Healthy again :)

  • amir

    this is good step

  • Maria

    Pakistan should have internet filtering system. After “Arab Spring” and cyber attack on “Iran’s Nuclear Power Plant” (involvement of CIA in local politics and spying and attacking sensitive places) it is in interest of Pakistan. Imagine, Iran is planning to disconnect Internet (international traffic) and built up and Intranet (local traffic) to avoid cyber threads. Grow up Assh*les!!!

    • Shahid Saleem

      After the Arab Spring where they overthrew their own dictators? What a stupid example. You would prefer them to be ruled by dictatorsip? I see how much you love your fellow Muslims.

      Regardless, I am glad I am not ruled by people who think like you (yet).

      • Maria

        Example of Arab spring means usage of tweeter, fb and youtube for coverage of protest and spreading violence videos, what happened who comes in or who goes out thats not our matter but social media can hotchpotch local politics, not only barbaric dictators but civilian government too (as happened after last presidential election of Iran).

        • Shahid Saleem

          — not only barbaric dictators but civilian government too (as happened after last presidential election of Iran).

          Wow you are full of bad examples. So tell me about the last presidential election, where one of the candidates had more supporters working for him than he had votes for him. Did his supporters fail to vote for him? Or was it fraud?

          Oh nevermind, I know your twisted conspiracy theory answer.

          • Maria

            told you before “who comes in or who goes out thats not our matter” our concern is Social Media not Politics!!! cann’t you read or you are blind?? we are not discussing Politics we are talking about Social Media. Billions of SMS, E-mails, Tweet, FB Posts, Blogs daily go on air they contain all type of data from humor to sensitive information too so there should be a check and balance system. State and Agencies should know whats cooking in country. A recent survey conducted by paksoliders.com shows a large no. of army officers (mostly youngster) have an fb account with their Real Pictures (in uniform, with family blah blah….) Rank, Place of duty, Contacts. These things are supposed to be sensitive and not to be shared on online, it exposed them. THEY SHOULD BE CHECKED. I dont know whats your problem why are you opposing it? or belongs to those who always enjoys opposing Government without knowing what is this? as you said in your first comment – “”I see how much you love your fellow Muslims.”” Saudi Arabia has web filtering system too consist of two parts 1. “immoral sites” 2. “list of sites made by Interior Ministry” how you see this?

            I already said GROW UP************************

            • Shahid Saleem

              — I dont know whats your problem why are you opposing it?

              Then you’re not paying attention. ALL THE EXAMPLES YOU GAVE ABOVE to promote a filtering system WERE IN PLACE in Arab Spring countries AND used against social media. In Tunisia the government tried to get copies of everyone’s passwords on facebook by injecting javascript into the login page. FACT. Eventually all these filtering systems WERE USED AGAINST THE POPULATION.

              They were not there to PROTECT the country.
              They were not there to PROTECT the people.
              They were not there to HIDE BLASPHEMY.

              They were all put in place to protect the political elite. And yes, that includes the military.

              IN EVERY CASE.

              In Pakistan Facebook and Twitter urls already go through a special filtering system. Or have you forgotten how just one year ago people were being randomly logged into other people’s accounts? All because of a misconfigured transparent filtering proxy on PTCL’s end?

              — Saudi Arabia has web filtering system too consist of two parts 1. “immoral sites” 2. “list of sites made by Interior Ministry” how you see this?

              Yes, of course, every country that filters the traffic SAYS they are doing it to protect the citizens from blasphemy or anti-state websites or immoral sites like porn. So I ask you AGAIN AND AGAIN: why are the filtering systems used instead of protect the political leaders? Why are the filtering systems used to hide crimes committed by the rich and powerful in those countries?

              ONCE AGAIN I DEMAND that you explain why the PTA can censor a public press conference held in Pakistan. Why can they censor a website about the PTA chairman. If those sites and videos are spreading lies, then why hasn’t the governemtn moved to block ALL THOSE OTHER SITES AND PAGES ON FACEBOOK that spread lies? Where is the blasphemy? Where is the anti-state material?

              The only answer: the sites being blocked are telling the truth of some kind, and to protect influential people.

              — I already said GROW UP************************

              I am grown up. The only difference is, my eyes are open.

              • Maria

                Full of Sh*t!!!

                we talk about police they are recruited to protect and for safety of common people but what are they doing?? Protocol of VIP, Hiding political crime….. blah blah you know what?? This department should be abolished too. Don’t go far away, Judiciary, (except current CJP, he was/is pco judge too) all Marshall Law were supported by them (PCO judges) and what happening with Common man Tarikh pa Tarikh, heavy fee of lawyer, bribe, reader………. and result we are full of JUISTICE. There are many other depart (almost all) what to do with them??

                and another thing censoring Press conference (is supposed to be a matter of PEMRA and) blocking video url, webpages and fb account is happening because they are corrupt and collect all data concern court if PM can go home then why not this Grade-21 bl**dy officer?? go ahead Im with you. URL blocking is not at all wrong thing but using it to oblige someone is wrong.

                • Shahid Saleem

                  I don’t get your point. You seem to be agreeing with me about how the current filtering is helping our corrupt politicians and bureaucrats.

                  And yet you say we should have our own filtering system.
                  And yet you use the example of where filtering systems used by Arab countries AGAINST their own population and that resulted in Arab Spring.

                  Be clear.

    • Cyko

      Somehow, we understand our leaders are going to filter HACKERS supported by CIA & Whatever! lol

      Govt: How not to let the people know why Pakistani Govt is rich ?

      Advisor: Sir Gee, Internet Filter kar dain, Aaj kal sab Internet per a jata hay !

      • Maria

        Few days ago a website related to Army and defence reported that ISI is making a cyber wing to probe these thread.

        • Cyko

          On a serious note,YES; to avoid Civil conflict and for greater cause, to safe guard Pakistan’s interests…In my opinion all Anti-Pakistan propoganda should be taken down no matter it is about politics, sports, or Army.whether on Tweeter,youtube,or FB anywhere..

          No matter its ISI or whoever, we must categorize responsible people who critcize on INSTITUTIONS and if they fail to prove a point, they should be declared TRAITORS.

          • Shahid Saleem

            Look at history. People who think & act like you ruin countries.

            • Maria

              Can you plz name these countries?? LoL))

              • Shahid Saleem

                Sure: Let’s start with our own: Pakistan in 1970-1971. You don’t think the war happened just overnight and with no events before it, do you? (Or maybe you do.) Would you care to give us the count how many Eastern Pakistani educated people were killed by our Army and those facts hidden from us until after the war?

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1971_killing_of_Bengali_intellectuals

                Who was criticising then? who was the traitor? The people killed, or the killers?

                Oh, remember what topic we are talking about: PTA blocking with a national filtration system. And in the last month, the PTA has blocked websites criticising the new PTA chairman, and the videos about the press conference about the PTV chairman. NO BLASPHEMY ONLY HIGH LEVEL POLITICIANS ARE BEING PROTECTED.

                Today, we have Balochistan. I am sorry to say this but every time I hear people say that America will be broken into pieces in our lifetime and other nonsense, I think of how close we are to losing Balochistan. Do you have any idea how FEW ordinary people in Balochistan (outside urban areas) even want to be Pakistani now? Of course not – the government is hiding the facts. If they post stuff online, the government (PTA) blocks the sites. Does any of this help us SOLVE the problem? Not at all. Just send a few army brigades there to “pacify” the agitated people, that’s WHAT PEOPLE LIKE YOU SAY.

                There was no internet in 1970, but there was government-ordered censorship of the media in 1970 and 1971, too. Many people in West Pakistan did not know what was going on in East Pakistan. I have relatives who got jobs to go to East Pakistan in 1971 and they were clueless about the situation. Two weeks after they arrived in Dhaka, the war came.

                They ended up spending two years in POW camps. It could have been worse. They could have been killed. But they are just mentally affected. The filtering system did not help us in 1971, and it is not going to help us today.

                • Cyko

                  Wikipedia ?? Who owns it and who is the author??

                  and Seriously, you cant read English? The point is against “HONEST” leadership & “COMPETENT” Chamchay? LOL !

                  Govt: Suna hay ‘Interned’ LATEST technology hay, hamein toh computer aata nai, ab yeh kia goron nay new Science choori hay ?
                  Chamcha: Sir Geee, Iss say paisey FORAN transfer ho jatay hain !

                  My second point was; Masses can easily be manipulated, in the name of religion, Cast, Race, Ethnicity, and countless other factors.

                  Due check out the following words.
                  ARMY, what they are being trained for?
                  TRAITOR ?
                  How would you translate the word ” Saazish” in English ?
                  and at last What is ‘Freedom of speech’ ?

                  • Shahid Saleem

                    — Wikipedia ?? Who owns it and who is the author??

                    Let me tell you a secret: when someone gives you a link to a wikipedia article, read the article, then verify the contents of the LINKS AT THE BOTTOM TO THE REAL SOURCES.

                    Wikipedia provides a good summary. The links are the real material to follow. Did you see who wrote the links?

                    Fortunately there DO EXIST Muslims in Pakistan who are willing to investigate and tell the truth. Example: http://storyofpakistan.com/the-hamood-ur-rahman-commission-report/

                    And look! Our government suppressed the TRUTH for over 20 years! Deny that, why don’t you?

                    — The point is against “HONEST” leadership & “COMPETENT” Chamchay? LOL !

                    Which we have zero of. NOT. ONE. SINGLE. LEADER. And If we do get such leaders, they will not be bothered by lame accusations on some stupid vlog on youtube. So they do not need help of this kind.

                    — ARMY, what they are being trained for?

                    When army cadets become officers, they take an oath: http://www.letsstartthinking.org/Pakistan/law/oath-armed-forces.asp

                    — TRAITOR ?

                    Every single person who violates that oath and acts against the government is a traitor, BY THE DEFINITION IN THE SAME CONSTITUTION THAT THEY TAKE AN OATH TO PROTECT: part 6 at http://www.pakistani.org/pakistan/constitution/part1.html

                    Legally, there is no other definition of traitor/treason in Pakistan. If you think there is one, link to the relevant law.

                    — What is ‘Freedom of speech’ ?

                    Tell you what: why don’t you let me install some spyware on your mobile phone and computer? It will only trigger when you say something or post something treasonous or visit any website that is treasonous. Will you let me do that? Why not?

                    • Cyko

                      Chal mera bhai, Ghussa na kar, we are talking about same points. LOL

    • faizan

      I totally agree with this get rid of from all those privacy robbers..

  • I support these kinda steps.

  • Maria
    • Shahid Saleem

      Oh, they monitor blogs, too. And they’re following you now.