Pakistan PM Shehbaz to unblock Wikipedia after ‘blasphemy’ row

On Feb 6, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif ordered authorities to unblock Wikipedia, just after the online encyclopedia was confined for “blasphemous content”. “The Prime Minister is pleased to direct that the website (Wikipedia) may be restored with immediate effect,” Pakistan’s Minister of Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb tweeted the Prime Minister’s order on her Twitter account.

She added that “The Prime Minister has also constituted a Cabinet Committee on matters related to Wikipedia and other online content”. As per the spokesperson, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority said it blocked Wikipedia because a 48-hour deadline to eradicate the content was ignored.

The site was blocked on Friday by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority post a deadline expired that the country gave to Wikipedia to remove the blasphemous content from their page. However, the ban got criticism and many Islamabad action, arguing that it was a setback to digital rights and disadvantaged the people of the right to seek knowledge.

On the other hand, as the criticism escalated, Pakistan’s information minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said that PM Sharif’s five-member committee had looked into the matter and ordered Wikipedia services to be unblocked straight away.  As per the order issued on Monday, Pakistan’s PM Shehbaz Sharif instructed a committee made up of three government ministers to inspect the PTA’s decision to block the site.