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Thursday Oct 03, 2013

Nisar says not in favour of banning Skype, Viber, Whatsapp, Tango

ISLAMABAD: Federal Interior Minister, Chaudhry Nisar, Thursday said that no decision had been taken regarding the imposition of a ban on instant messaging and internet telephony services including Skype, Whatsapp, Viber, and Tango in Sindh.

Ch Nisar’s statement came on the heels of an announcement made by Sindh Information Minister, Sharjeel Memon, in which he said that the provincial government had decided to block the above-mentioned Internet services for three months citing security reasons.

“I am not in the favour of a ban like this and we have not taken a final decision so far. The federal government will carefully see how much weight does this proposal carry if it receives one from the Sindh government”, said he.

On the other hand, the acting chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) told Geo News that he had no idea whether there was a provision in the law to impose such a ban.

He also denied being aware of any letter written to PTA by the Sindh government for the same.

Sources in the PTA said that at the moment the authority was not authorized to ban these services.

It is pertinent to mention that Memon did not spell out how closing down the networks would improve security, but security services say instant messaging and internet telephony are used by militants and other armed groups to plan attacks.

The decision was taken after a meeting attended by the Sindh chief minister and senior police and intelligence officials.

"We are imposing a ban on Whatsapp, Skype, Viber, Tango and other networks," Memon told a news conference. "The ban will remain in place for at least three months for security reasons."

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