Pakistan on Wednesday temporarily banned the hugely popular online game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) after receiving complaints it was addictive and following media reports linking the brutal, multiplayer shoot ’em up to suicide.
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority said it had received “numerous” complaints from people saying the game has a “serious negative impact on (the) physical and psychological health of the children” who play it.
Pakistan bans PUBG after numerous complaints
“The PTA has received numerous complaints against PUBG wherein it is stated that the game is addictive, wastage of time and poses serious negative impact on physical and psychological health of the children,” a statement of the authority said.
The PTA said it had suspended internet access to the game pending a high court hearing on July 9.
The country’s top telecommunication authority also decided to solicit views of the public with reference to the said online game. “In this regard public is encouraged to provide feedback through firstname.lastname@example.org by July 10, 2020,” it further said.
The Lahore High Court (LHC) has also directed PTA to look into the issue and decide the matter after hearing the complainants. In this regard, a hearing is being conducted on July 9, 2020.
Press Release: In view of complaints received from different segments of society, PTA has decided to temporarily suspend the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) game. pic.twitter.com/ZUea4G277k
— PTA (@PTAofficialpk) July 1, 2020
Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper last month reported that police in Lahore had recommended a ban after a teenaged player killed himself.
The newspaper said police believe the 16-year-old boy committed suicide after he failed to accomplish a mission.
Pakistan bans PUBG after suicide of teenager
Last month, a 10th grade student had committed suicide in Lahore’s Gulshan-e-Abbass Phase-II. The boy was found hanging in his room. The police also spotted a smartphone beside the body with the PUBG game app running on it.
“We found his mobile phone on the bed with the PUBG game on at that time near his body. We immediately called the Punjab Forensic Science Agency for further investigation into the incident,” Dawn quoted Saddar Division SP Operations Ghazanfar Syed as saying.
His parents also confirmed to the police that they had stopped the boy for playing the game.
After the incident, a letter written to the Punjab inspector general of police (IGP) on Saturday sought a ban on the popular online game.
The letter was penned by SSP Liaqat Ali Malik on the instructions of CCPO Zulfiqar Hameed. It mentioned that the online video game has devastating impacts on the mental health of the youth and two incidents of suicide have been reported in the city.
It stated that excessive violence triggers aggressive behaviour among the youth and they become addicted to the game. The CCPO said the game should be banned and an awareness campaign should be launched.
Pakistan’s move follows similar bans in Jordan, Iraq, Nepal, the Indian state of Gujarat and the Indonesian province of Aceh.
What is PUBG and why is it so popular?
While the full title is PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, most people call it PUBG, because it’s not quite a title that rolls off the tongue.
Often likened to the blockbuster book and film series “The Hunger Games”, PUBG pits marooned characters against each another in a virtual fight to the death, and has become one of the world’s most popular mobile games.
— ッˢ𝕒𝒩𝒶 ☄დ (@_OutOfRange_) July 1, 2020
The game itself is a take on the Battle Royale (or H1Z1: King of the Kill, or The Hunger Games) concept – a number of people are released onto an island, last person standing wins. To do that, you’ve got to find weapons, kill people you see, and avoid danger.
Each match pits about 100 people against each other, some of which can be in teams, while others will be going it alone. Winners receive their prestigious ‘winner winner, chicken dinner’ title, on top of an in-game currency that lets them purchase cosmetic items.
GVS News Desk with additional input by AFP and other sources
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