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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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4.3 magnitude earthquake jolts parts of Punjab

4.3 magnitude earthquake jolts parts of Punjab

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4.3 magnitude earthquake jolts parts of Punjab

An earthquake measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale struck various parts of Punjab including Lahore on Monday 

People came out of their homes in panic and started reciting verses from the Holy Quran. No loss of life and property was reported in any part of Punjab. 

According to the National Seismic Monitoring Centre, Islamabad, the epicentre of the earthquake was located five kilometres south of Sheikhupura at the depth of 45 kilometres.

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Pakistan Army shoots down Indian quadcopter on LoC

Pakistan Army shoots down Indian quadcopter on LoC

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Pakistan Army shoots down Indian quadcopter on LoC

Pakistan Army has shot down a spy quadcopter of Indian Army on the Line of Control (LoC).

According to a statement issued by the Public Relations Department of the Pakistan Army (ISPR), on Monday, an Indian Air Force quadcopter spying on Pakistan was shot down.

The ISPR said that the army has found the downed quadcopter inside Pakistani territory.

It may be recalled that it is the fifth anniversary of Operation Swift Retort today. On February 27, 2019, the Pakistan Air Force shot down Indian fighter planes that violated Pakistani airspace. 

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PTI founder, Bushra Bibi indicted in 190m pound case

PTI founder, Bushra Bibi indicted in 190m pound case

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PTI founder, Bushra Bibi indicted in 190m pound case

 An accountability court indicted the PTI founder and his wife Bushra Bibi in the ill-famous 190 million pound case – also previously known as Al-Qadir Trust case – as the judge, Nasir Javed Rana, held hearing at the Adiala jail.

All the cases involving the former PTI chairman are being heard at the jail premises – where he is imprisoned – because of the security threats, for which Bushra Bibi was shifted from her Bani Gala residence where she is serving her sentences in two cases – Toshakhana and illegal/un-Islamic marriage.

Meanwhile, her husband has so far been convicted in three cases – cipher, Toshakhana and illegal/un-Islamic marriage.

During the proceedings, the two accused pleaded not guilty, as the judge adjourned proceedings till March 6 while also summoning five witnesses to record their statements on next hearing.

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However, the accountability court accepted two pleas filed by the PTI founder, requesting permission for an appointment with his dentist and general physician.

Previously, the indictment had been postponed on several occasions due to the absence of Mohammad Bashir – the accountability court judge who is set to retire on March 14 and has applied for leave preparatory to retirement (LPR).

However, the law ministry last week appointed District and Sessions Judge Rana as an Accountability Court No 1 Islamabad judge to replace Bashir who went on leave on deputation for a period of three years. 

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