Wednesday Jul 01, 2020
Following a temporary ban on Wednesday placed by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority on popular online game PUBG (PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds), players stormed Twitter to register a protest, calling on PTA to rethink its decision.
They called for a focus on mental health awareness instead, and for a better understanding of the esports industry which has the potential to lead to large earnings and laurels for the country.
Journalist Maha Dar said the authority was quick to ban the popular game but questioned the government's belated response over questionable aviation licences granted to pilots.
A student from Mehran University of Engineering and Technology said it was "ridiculous" how an online game was being blamed for an increasing number of suicides by students.
"Let me remind you that hundreds of students commit suicide every year because of mental pressure and overburden they face in universities. Ban those institutes. This is not how things work," he wrote.
Another user also endorsed the view that policy on mental awareness and therapy, instead, should be the focus when someone is "mentally disturbed" and commits suicide.
"I am playing PUBG for four years. It's just a normal game," he said.
One user pointed out that the game would have brought laurels to the country with a local team's success in the PMCO or PUBG Mobile club open — a tournament held for players of the game.
He said the team "freestyler" would have represented Pakistan and would have been a "nice opportunity for Pakistani gamers to earn money through YouTube".
Another user also echoed the sentiment and called for a lifting of the ban. He appealed to the PTA to "unban PUBG" as there are many players representing Pakistan through the game.
"Many people have careers on this game. You will destroy their careers!" he said.
Another, also tagging Prime Minister Imran Khan along with PTA, said that the source of income for many streamers had been stopped.
"Esports is a field and PTA should be realising that as soon as possible," he said.
A fan also questioned the "logic" behind such a move, in a letter to the PTA.
He called for "promoting treatment for mental health" instead as a solution to the suicide problem.
The fan argued in favour of esports, how it is an industry like any other and how this move would harm the careers of many.
A female user said the government should instead "go and solve actual and factual issues", citing domestic abuse, COVID-19, lack of education, harassment, child abuse and rape, as issues that still persist and require much needed attention.
"Banning a video game will do no good."