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Pakistan lifts ban on Wikipedia after PM’s orders

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Pakistan lifts ban on Wikipedia after PM's orders

Pakistan has removed ban on the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, following a two-day suspension after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to “immediately” do so on Monday.

The decision was made on the recommendation of a three-member ministerial committee comprising Minister for Law and Justice Azam Nazeer Tarar, Minister for Economic Affairs and Political Affairs Ayaz Sadiq, and Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb, according to a statement from the PM’s Office.

On February 1, PTA announced that it was “degrading” Wikipedia services in Pakistan over the existence of “sacrilegious content”, which the platform had been asked to remove, but failed to do so.

Two days later, after the encyclopedia failed to respond to the objections, it was banned completely, sparking outrage in the country.

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Following the development, the matter of the ban was placed before the PM on February 6 (today), and he constituted a ministerial committee for a preliminary examination of the issue.

The committee, according to the statement, deduced that “Wikipedia was a useful site/portal which supported the dissemination of knowledge and information for the general public, students and the academia”.

“Blocking the site in its entirety was not a suitable measure to restrict access to some objectionable contents/sacrilegious matters on it. The unintended consequences of this blanket ban, therefore, outweigh its benefits,” the statement said.

The prime minister, thereafter, directed that Wikipedia be restored with “immediate effect”.

Moreover, under the Rules of Business, 1973, PM Shehbaz also set up a new cabinet committee to look into the matter more closely.

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This committee will comprise the following: minister for law and justice, minister for economic affairs and political affairs, minister for information and broadcasting, minister for commerce, and minister for communications, along with the minister of IT and telecommunication, who is also to be the chair of the committee.

Moreover, the directive made provisions for the committee to “co-opt any expert members or seek opinions from expert individuals/organisations to reach its findings”.

The aim of the committee is to review the suitability of PTA’s ban on Wikipedia, while exploring and recommending alternative technical measures for the removal — or blockage — of the objectionable content on Wikipedia or any other online information sites, keeping in view the “social cultural and religious sensitivities” of the country.

The committee is also tasked with sharing any other recommendations with the objective of controlling unlawful online content in a balanced manner and has been directed to present its report and recommendations for consideration within a week’s time.

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Anchorperson Imran Riaz released after court dismisses charges against him

Anchorperson Imran Riaz released after court dismisses charges against him

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Anchorperson Imran Riaz released after court dismisses charges against him

 YouTuber and anchorperson Imran Riaz has been released following a court order that discharged him from charges of interference in official duties.

Imran Riaz’s lawyer, Mian Ali Ashfaq, confirmed the news on his official X (formerly Twitter) account.

Media reports indicate that on May 29, Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court, Justice Aamer Farooq, allowed Imran Riaz to perform Hajj. However, despite the court’s permission, he was barred from travelling to Saudi Arabia for Hajj on June 3 and had to return home, stating his intent to seek court intervention again.

On June 12, the Islamabad High Court once more permitted Imran Riaz to proceed with Hajj. Yet, on the same day, he was arrested at Lahore Airport, clad in ihram, just as he was about to depart.

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A case under Section 406 for breach of trust was filed against him, but the Model Town Court in Lahore dismissed these charges on June 13. Nonetheless, he was rearrested in connection with another case.

This time, Imran Riaz was accused in a case registered at Sarwar Road Police Station in Lahore for allegedly interfering with official duties by forcibly driving his vehicle through an airport checkpoint, damaging a barrier.

However, on June 14, the Cantt Court in Lahore discharged Imran Riaz from the interference charges, leading to his release as per the court’s order.

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Health insurance for 5,000 journalists on cards: Tarar

Health insurance for 5,000 journalists on cards: Tarar

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Health insurance for 5,000 journalists on cards: Tarar

Federal Information Minister Atta Tarar announced that health insurance for 5,000 journalists will be ensured in the first phase.

While addressing the media at the press club, Tarar stated that the government is committed to the welfare of journalists. He underlined the need to work together to serve the country. He also asserted the government’s belief in freedom of expression while stopping misinformation.

Also read: PPP standing with journalists over defamation law: Hassan Murtaza

Tarar highlighted that everyone must play a part in ending fake. He mentioned that a long meeting with journalists will be held soon saying that his doors are always open for them.

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Furthermore, Atta Tarar said that the government will ensure a minimum wage of Rs 37,000

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Political parties must prioritise country’s progress: President Zardari

Political parties must prioritise country’s progress: President Zardari

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Political parties must prioritise country's progress: President Zardari

 President Asif Ali Zardari has emphasised that political parties must prioritise the country’s progress and prosperity by fulfilling their democratic and constitutional responsibility.

He was talking to Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi, who called on him in Islamabad on Friday.

The president said we must only think about Pakistan and put aside personal differences.

He stressed the need to take Pakistan forward and everyone has to play his role in this regard.

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Speaking on the occasion, the Interior Minister said any challenge can be tackled through the power of unity and solidarity.

Besides, matters of mutual interest and country’s overall situation were discussed in the meeting.

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