To Anusha Rehman, the Minister of State IT and Telecommunications

pakistan-telecomA congratulations is in order for you and your party, and apologies that I had not been able to convey it earlier. It has been a historic win for PML(N). I would also like to congratulate you on receiving the portfolio for IT and Telecommunications in Pakistan. It is indeed a great responsibility and being given charge of a sector which has the potential to transform the whole country is a great honour and opportunity.

The issues you face are pressing. I think first and foremost 3G is a huge problem that must be resolved. At a time when the world is moving to 4G LTE, we are still debating over 3G. It is a sad state of affairs.

The previous government made many commitments for the auction of 3G spectrum, the last said the auction would be completed by the end of 2012. Of course it was a huge failure on their part. I hope that you are able to meet yours. Did you know that Afghanistan already has 3G? There are 70 million users of 3G in India alone? This was also pointed out in a post by former CEO of the Universal Service Fund, Parvez Iftikhar.

A fund whose finances as you might know have been transferred to the Ministry of Finance even though it is not publicly financed. Apart from 3G, it is also extremely important to being planning of deployment of 4G LTE. We are only playing catch up at the moment.

Apart from this, ICT implementation across our government and public offices is a huge concern. Modernization and computerization of processes must be done to ensure transparency and public empowerment. Processes also need to be made easier for everyday consumers. We can’t even pay our bills or taxes online, when the same can be done in many other countries. Indians can book their train tickets on their computers and buy them too!

Yet while all these issues are talked about and reiterated over and over again. I want to talk to you about a very specific issue that is privacy and cyber-freedom! The internet by it’s very nature is meant to be open and expressive. It is a liberating invention which provides everyone to express themselves.

We all tweet and upload statuses on Facebook. We upload pictures and have online discussions. Similarly mobile phones and the services we use on them are a liberating experience. We have a right to privacy on what we use these services for. We also have a right to use all the services that are on offer.

Might I stress on the word service! It is almost a year now that YouTube has been closed in Pakistan. Well to be honest it is no open secret that it is still accessible through a host of proxy websites and VPN services. As I said, the internet by it’s design is meant to be open and non-restrictive. I was reminded of this again when like last year I tried to stream Tarawihs from Mecca. As you will be aware that Saudi Arabia not only allows YouTube but also works with them to ensure that a live transmission of both the Holy Mosques in Mecca and Medina are available to stream worldwide from YouTube.

I am reminded again that YouTube is not allowed in Pakistan when I try to access lectures from my alma mater online. As you are aware Cambirdge, Harvard, MIT, Stanford and many other leading universities upload most of their lectures now to YouTube. Did you also know that open universities in Pakistan like Virtual University and Allama Iqbal Open University have been greatly impacted by this closure because most of their lectures were uploaded and available on YouTube.


But perhaps, as most of us are already aware, that the closure of YouTube is not just because of one blasphemous video which if you so choose can block access to without much of a hassle. It is also not because Google refuses to block that video in Pakistan, which it does not! As it has already blocked it in many other Muslim countries.

Sources in Google have told me that the Pakistani Government before you has been happy with the closure of YouTube and their condition for unbanning it is to have power to block politically incriminating videos. That has perhaps been a real point of contention.



Sources in Google have told me that previous Pakistani Government has been happy with the closure of YouTube and their condition for unbanning it is to have power to block politically incriminating videos, Ali Moeen Nawazish


YouTube like other social media sites is a place where corruption, government incompetence and lies from politicians can be highlighted without fear of repercussion. Obviously as they say a picture is worth a thousand words, so a video which has 24 pictures in every second must be worth millions! The political motivations to keep YouTube blocked are not a secret. I sincerely hope that you look beyond this, and don’t choose the protection of some over the benefit of thousands.

I am also sometimes astonished and surprised that there is no publicly shared criteria due to which websites are banned. There is also no official list published. As a citizen of this country it is my right to know why my Government, who I elected by the way, refuses to let me exercise my basic rights. What is even more astonishing and surprising is that some websites like BuzzFeed are blocked without any reason.

Speaking of laws, ethics and morality because apparently that is the reason why YouTube was blocked, why don’t all our government offices use original legally purchased software. There is no question of moral and ethics there, when it should be. Piracy is theft, yet all big piracy portals are openly accessible in Pakistan. All torrent(a way of illegal file sharing) websites are also accessible!

Blasphemy, is also not a valid excuse. Because if YouTube is blocked only due to blasphemous content then it is quite hypocritical. There is a lot of blasphemous content on Facebook, Twitter, and hundreds of other websites which are still completely accessible in Pakistan! I can provide a list if you so ask. I emphasized on the word “service” because YouTube is a service and tool for communication. As a newspaper, book, magazine, or even our ability to talk is. The internet has no editorial control, and that is why it’s free. We can’t just ban everything.

There are magazines which are blasphemous, so do we ban all magazines? Do we ban all newspapers and books because one or two of them are blasphemous? Similarly, due we ban all videos on YouTube because one video is blasphemous? Should I be afraid, that I will be banned from speaking soon too when someone says something blasphemous?

Also YouTube and many sites carry a lot of pro-Islamic material as well. There are many lectures and material available on YouTube for free. It is a tool to reach out. We need to use that tool. By blocking YouTube our ability to spread our message has significantly been hampered! We need to make it accessible, because it has a wealth of knowledge that we are now devoiding our people from, in particular our younger generation and the youth.

Thank you for your time, and I hope you will take these recommendations into considerations.

The writer is Youth Ambassador of Geo and Jang Group. He can be contacted via Facebook and Twitter

  • Good Advocative writing for youtube, however i wonder why dont universities upload their lectures on their own sites, why youtube is the only option for them? dont they have skills to do it at their own? mixing it with political and blasphemy matter is not just.
    why dont we find any other option? is youtube THE END of world?
    for a person like you who knows about proxies, VPN’s etc. why dont you get your lectures through FTP or the same VPN’s or proxies.
    Please dont generalise your own opinion.
    A vast majority IS living and CAN live without YOUTUBE…..

    • The vast majority is also living without Justice, Adnan, does that mean we don’t deserve any???

      They upload videos to Youtube because the users are at Youtube. Simple as that. If they upload somewhere else they have to build a following and community. Youtube gives you that for free.

      Plus, hosting on Youtube is free :):):)

    • This is ”DEMOCRACY” Right to do anything. even the majorities of pakistan have rights. driving a car has its pros and cons too. i can kill you with my car and drive myself to work and mosque. so is internet and youtube. youtube should be unblockked along with all the blocked content. i am citizen of pakistan and i demand unblocked life and in civilised manner. if a molvi or idiot has problem with blasphemeous content. load them in a ship and parcel them to america they can do there jihad on america once they get there rather thn buring our houses and petrol pumps against blasphemeous content. half of molvies FAITH is not achieved because of how dirty they are and how ugly animal life they live. (Eman ka nisf hisa safai hai) .

      LIVE AND LET LIVE. i will have my grave to answer and you will have yours.

      • minority ***

        Anusha rehman is illitrate personnel when it comes to IT.

        she dont know rats arse about Information Technology.

        Someone young and passionate about technology should be hired for this job as its about keeping up with the rest of the world and having the knowledge of what every other telecom and it company is upto.

        It is sad that they cant even attract DELL, IBM, HP to open thier flagship store across pakistan. i have to go to random shops who ask for price whatever they feel like when i want to buy a laptop in islamabad. absolute shame this is. PLEASE I BEG OF YOU ALL. PLEASE lets improve this country. our elders spent all their life having tea and discussing politics at family gatherings and wedding :(

      • totally agree with you bro. I’m responsible for what I’m doing here and going to answer my Lord hereafter. Government main job is to provide security to the peoples at which they are null. Sick of all these peoples that are doing nothing and neither let others do something fair for the nation.

  • I oppsoe YT ban, but I oppose relying on one service totally too; those who can, should upload to their own servers and those who can’t can use lcoal services.

    • Do you host WebSolHub on your own servers? Do you use someone else’s services, internet, hosting, etc etc?

      Do you use your own phone company or do you depend on some other provider?

      Please use meaningful comments.

      • Sorry if my comment offended you, but what I meant by ‘own servers’ was to host on ‘own website’ which is feasible.

        • not feasible not at all. i am sorry. my university in the uk upload lectures to youtube channel . are you trying to say that 99percent of the univerisites in the uk are stupid enough to use youtube and not invest in their own servers. i am devastated because of the reason i cannot acces my lectures in paksitan on youtube because of sick minded minority in pakistan. SAD SAD SAD

          • It’s just my opinion, I could be wrong too, and if I have an opinion it doesn’t mean that everyone who do not agree with my opinion is stupid. No, they are not stupid, it’s their choice and they are free to use any service.

            • spot on. its my choice to open pornography content or islamic content. who are these people to force anything on me. every citizen has right to the way he/she wants to live. one can use a car to drive to mosque and same car to kill someone.

          • I know you must have an idea how to bypass this ban, you are just crying for other people. I wonder why people have so much time.

            • Hey, people who pay bribes to get their (legal) work done faster in Pakistan are technically “bypassing a ban” of a different kind, also.

              Just because there are “bypasses” for what many think should be equally available to all does not mean we do not try to solve the root cause: our stupid government.

    • Anusha rehman is illitrate personnel when it comes to IT.

      Someone young and passionate about technology should be hired for this job as its about keeping up with the rest of the world and having the knowledge of what every other telecom and it company is upto.

      It is sad that they cant even attract DELL, IBM, HP to open thier flagship store across pakistan. i have to go to random shops who ask for price whatever they feel like when i want to buy a laptop in islamabad. absolute shame this is. PLEASE I BEG OF YOU ALL. PLEASE lets improve this country. our elders spent all their life having tea and discussing politics at family gatherings and wedding :(

      • Yes, you are right. But I didn’t say one should not use YT or one should only upload his videos to his own website ‘only’… My point was ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket’.

  • Anusha Rehman has her head up her rear, not only is he clueless about the state of IT in Pakistan, she is also not qualified or credentialed enough to be an IT Minister. Do not for one moment hope that anything positive can materialize from this person.

  • check how much data being used in Pakistan in terms of usage, all available operators are not using their average data capacity allocated in their networks. how we expect 3G/4G or any other G florish in a country. When broadband available is cheaper than current wireless data bundle available in the market, in a country in which most smartphone users uses Wifi for data streaming and status postings. Under these circumstances our dream for future generation high speed data wireless networks are just a beautiful dream only.

  • There are many other pressing problems which Pakistan is facing like water shortage ( than bloody 3G and youtube. Ali Moeen Nawazish of “Jew” group as usual is trying to engage people in non-issues. 1/3rd of the country lives below poverty line and he is worried about modern schools and 3G. Total bullshit. He like his parent organization (Jang Group) just want to put the real issues in the background and want to engage the masses in non-issues.

    • That guy from “Jew” group is the world record holder in the field of academics. S**theads like you can not even dream to be near his place.

      3G is the reference to the fact that now that world is moving even beyond 4G and we can’t even go through this 3G problem. Take a hint.

      • So after getting As he became an intellectual ? Do you know engineers and scientists working on Pakistani missile program are mostly passed out from Urdu medium schools? Such “writers” can only dream to be near their place. Before you comment on me to win the debate, let me tell you I am successful in my life and got what I dreamed of and I believe in action, and action starts after exam (O or A whatever).

        • Let’s ask these alleged missile intellectuals how far they would’ve gotten WITHOUT access to cheap/free learning from the West.

          Then let’s ask them their opinion of the free educational videos on ALMOST EVERY SUBJECT ON EARTH available on Youtube, and why they think FREE EDUCATION VIDEOS (better than they learned in their Urdu schools or even many English schools these days in Pakistan) should be blocked.

          Until then, stuff it.

          • You know what your problem is? You won’t sleep if someone hit you hard with an argument without posting a reply. Majority of them had their higher education within Pakistan, now if you want to insist that all knowledge is coming from west and that too via youtube then you seriously need to see a psychiatrist. I really don’t know what is source of your knowledge, where where do you get this info without any reference you try to talk like an intellectual just to win an argument. If you have never met a scientist working for any of NESCOM subsidiary then please shut up.

            • I will note that you did not answer the first question about how far they would get without access to free/cheap learning: WE ALL KNOW THE ANSWER and it is not one you want to promote.

              Also who did the research for what was written in their textbooks? Or are you saying there is an unbroken chain of Urdu medium researchers who did reserach and then who wrote Urdu medium textbooks for Urdu medium higher education for Urdu medium students???

            • I work for NESCOM, and can assure you that anyone working here from an all Urdu medium education background is either a cleaner or related to some army wala, rest of us humble engineers don’t claim to be rocket scientists, but the western education and language skills did help us in making those missiles Mr.Salman refers to, and we had to complete our doctorates in English not Urdu, question our patriotism or religious propensity if you must when its a matter of youtube or Pakistan but remember we don’t get pay of General saab or recognition of atomic scientists.

    • First solution to problem is education. Without education can you make informed decisions? No.

      Where do we find the biggest set of education videos online? Oh, the site that’s blocked.

      And you don’t understand why it’s important to keep it available? Are you illiterate or what.

      • Have you ever been to your college library ? Just asking, don’t assume any question between the line stressing your brain.

        • Yeah!!!College library and all the lectures available on youtube and research on internet is really the “same thing”. I guess you have spent way too much time in libraries doing “stuff” and that’s the reason of your “intellectuality” since you are too adamant on challenging a simple fact.

          Seriously brother, Just think about your comparison.

        • Tell me, how do I (currently a non university student) go to a college library now? How do former graduates go to their libraries a few years after leaving?

  • YOutube ban is linked with 3G. As soon as 3G is licensed govt. will open youtube..But for 3G they need billion in kickback to auction.. And in Pakistan internet is being used badly for democracy, government and it spread false propaganda..So i think no only YOUTUBE but also EVERY video spreading site must be banned… And 3g? who needs it when thousands are dieing due to health ,education and poverty budget…. Please for sake of DEMOCRACY dont ever open YOUTUBE and say no to 3G..Please

  • Please correct your article, we are able to pay our utility bills online by using internet banking services of private banks. This service has been functional since 2009

    Moreover we can pay our taxes online as well if you are willing to pay :)

  • Good Article by Ali Moeen Nawazish.

    Well there is nothing much further to say to what he already said it. The pros exceeds 50:1 as compare to cons of the youtube. He described a way to get through the block by using proxies. I urge you if you can to go on youtube and watch for yourself right now how many Islamic channels are streaming live right now on youtube/live. You’ll be amazed how much it had grown since the start of Ramadhan, but proxy is an alternate link so speed is very low and you can’t even hear a Surah without random buffering. Before the blockade of youtube i was learning Arabic and i had successfully managed to learn alot of that with majority of the material coming from youtube (ofcourse).

    You won’t believe it but i and with only few other of my online friends (from UK and MIdEast) had managed to get alot of video objectionable videos removed from youtube just by emailing the youtube media team that “the video is hurtful to the one particular sect of people are the perpetrator’s object was only to hurt people” thats it and few days later that video would be removed. But i think that whole episode of protesting against blasphemous film trailer really hit the egos of google execs and they must’ve thought “we are the 100 billion dollar entity, why should we cave”. If they would’ve been approached reasonably i think we may have different situation right now.

    I think we need to take the streets like they doing in Arabic countries otherwise, it would be GDP increase one day, WHT on mobile card the next and 150Rs/liter petrol on next day. We are being run by institutions and not the Govts and that had turned us into zombies. Period.

  • I think there is some confusion in this article …… he agreed that you tube can be open-able in Pakistan with the help of vpn and unblocking servers …. so then why we are worried about it …. u simply use you tube …… and people are using this …

    secondly he stated on behalf of google/microsoft that why pirated softwares are being used in Pak …. so it is indirect message …. I don’t want to comment on this ….. it is self explanatory message ..

    anyway, we must listen the point of view of ex-govt …. y they blocked you tube and what was the conspiracy theory behind this game … there must be some thing special … we must dig out …. !!!

    • Your second paragraph is the usual nonsense conspiracy theory. Please throw it in the trash. So is your third paragraph.

      It’s simple: government has found a foolproof way of banning websites: accuse them of hosting blasphemy. So no matter how useful the sites are to the population and no matter how many Muslim countries around the world ALLOW the same sites, our government has successfully used this attack to shutdown the site.

      The reason for banning them is simple: they allow us (Pakistani citizens) to gather and communicate without the government being able to stop us from talking. So, they shut the sites down with the excuse, so that they can have more power over us.

      If you use SMS or phone calls, you know the government will (and can) listen in to your conversations. It has been the case that emails going in/out of Pakistan are to be stored/logged by authorities and it has been like that since Musharraf days.

      Post a political earth shattering video about a controversy on and see who reacts. Post it to youtube and governmetn has no control over it. that should tell you all you need to know.

      And lest we forget, community websites like propakistani have ALSO supported such bans in the past, so it is not like the entire tech sector is against the ban.

  • This is the worst post I have read from your blog … don’t you have any importance of religion ?? you just want to be free .. freedom .. freedom is a result what you are getting from youtube videos … nude videos of Paki girls .. this was a result of extra freedom ..

    • Did you even read the article? The author clearly referenced Islam in it. Did you miss the part about how everyone in the world EXCEPT Pakistanis can watch live coverage of Ramazan and later this year Hajj on youtube?

      • no he didnt read the article. he’s another one of those stupid people that have apparently never used youtube before.

  • What i dont understand is are the Muslims in Pakistan so stupid that they will log on to youtube and straight away search blasphemy videos. I mean why would a muslim watch such a video if its there than its there so is it a must that stupid Pakistani’s have to logon and watch only that video I think Anusha is stupid enough to do that. Heard she also wants fiber laid to every school in Punjab which will cost billion of Rupees !! Why only Punjab why not rest of Pakistan ? Why is Baluchistan being neglected from all modern ICT facilities. A third class advocate is being asked to Run the Show of IT In Pakistan with a team of goons who have not the basic knowledge of IT. USF was supposed to be infact meant to be eaten up by the Govt. Gillani, Khosa, Baber Awan, Raja ji all tried to eat it up but failed in their endeavors. Well Sharifs are clever they put their Bully Ishaq Dar to the task and he has done what others before him failed to do so. 3G or 4G we will have neither all we will have is a G and that G will be used by this government for the next 5 years for its pleasure !!!

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