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Child pornography in Pakistan declining: PTA

Chairman of the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority, Major General Amir Azeem Bajwa, on Wednesday, informed that over 2,384 child pornography websites have been banned, alongside banning 800,000 porn sites, and 11,000 VPNs.

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News Desk |

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Chairman, Retired Major General Amir Azeem Bajwa, revealed that child pornography is sharply declining in Pakistan, and the PTA authorities have blocked 800,000 porn sites, while over 2,384 child pornography websites have also been blocked.

Addressing the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication, the PTA Chairman noted, “The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has triggered a declining trend by aggressively blocking around 800,000 porn sites, 11,000 internet proxies and 2,384 websites carrying child pornography content.”

Retired Major General Bajwa noted that the process is ongoing, and the Pakistani authorities are constantly in contact with Interpol to make progress in this matter. He noted, “So far, the authorities have received 28 complaints with regards to child pornography.”

PTA Chairman retired Major General Amir Azeem Bajwa replied that there is no evidence of child pornographic videos emanating from Pakistan, and his office is continuously engaged with Interpol regarding this investigation. 

He went on to say, “However, it is lamentable that people continue to access porn sites through Virtual Private Network (VPN) proxies. So far, the PTA has blocked 11,000 proxy websites as well.”

Child Pornography Declining 

Apprising the Standing Committee on the measures undertaken to undermine child pornography, the PTA Chairman noted that despite blocking over 2,384 pornography sites, new pornographic websites keeping emerging. However, the PTA authorities have succeeded in ushering a decline in the trend.”

Chairman of the Standing Committee, Senator Rubina Khalid, expressed concern over child pornographic videos emerging from within Pakistan and questioned the PTA Chairman whether the videos of children were being made in Pakistan for local and international audiences.

Read more: Pakistan “Number One” in Child Porn

PTA Chairman retired Major General Amir Azeem Bajwa replied that there is no evidence of child pornographic videos emanating from Pakistan, and his office is continuously engaged with Interpol regarding this investigation.

He added that the PTA is working on implementing a new system to monitor the VPNs used to access pornographic websites, and the authorities have also obtained assistance and insight from Google with regards to its strategy to monitor and undermine pornographic content.

Major Genera Bajwa said, “Google undertook an extensive review of all sources used to watch porn in Pakistan. The matter was taken up with utmost seriousness, and Google has commended Pakistan’s efforts to undermine porn viewership. The trend of accessing porn is now sharply declining.”

Senator Rubina Khalid urged the PTA to implement a vigilant mechanism that will completely eliminate incidents and videos of child pornography from the web.

A senior customs official confirmed that the national exchequer has generated Rs231 million on customs duties paid by Pakistanis bringing back Smartphones from abroad. 

The PTA Chairman noted that the authority has adopted a vigilant manner of responding to all requests regarding the presence of URL’s carrying any kind of explicit content. He added, “People are requested not to send in detailed requests. Instead, they should simply provide the PTA authorities the URL, which will be blocked after a brief review.”

Social Media Propaganda 

Chairman Standing Committee Rubina Khalid urged the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to devise a strategy to curb social media propaganda. Citing her own example, Senator Khalid shared that certain social media accounts had disseminated false news that 560kg of gold was seized from her house.

She added, ‘I registered a complaint with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on 12th July.”

PTA Chairman Major General Bajwa agreed that fake social media accounts disseminating fallacious news and propaganda on Twitter and Facebook are a serious concern. He added, “However, the PTA does not have access to the representatives of Facebook and Twitter in Pakistan.”

DIRBS: PTA’s Phone Blocking Strategy 

The Standing Committee addressed the issue of the new phone blocking mechanism implemented by PTA, which was heavily criticized, and the Committee regarded it as a hindrance to the growth of information technology.

The Committee members argued that the Device Identification Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS) created an inconvenience for the Pakistanis travelling back home from abroad. The members raised questions regarding the effectiveness of such a device blocking mechanism when stolen personal information and travel documents, such as CNIC and passport, which are required to register Smartphone devices, can be easily used to unblock a non-custom paid Smartphone device in the market for a meager amount of money.

Read more: Kasur child abuse: Riches, political connections, prostitution & porn all linked – Ombudsman

The PTA chairman informed that after the implementation of DIRBS, all unregistered Smartphone devices will be rendered unusable. Major General Bajwa added that the commercial imports of Smartphones have doubled since the new device blocking mechanism was implemented. A senior customs official confirmed that the national exchequer has generated Rs231 million on customs duties paid by Pakistanis bringing back Smartphones from abroad.

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