Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

YouTube Access Restored in Pakistan After 3-Year Blackout

  • Pakistan’s largest operator announces unblocking on Facebook
  • Website banned after anti-Islam film sparked protests in 2012

YouTube access has been restored in Pakistan more than three years after the video-sharing service was forbidden to prevent people from watching a film branded as anti-Islam that sparked deadly protests from the Middle East to Southeast Asia.

The lifted ban comes a week after the Alphabet Inc. company started country-specific YouTube pages for Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Pakistan Telecommunication Co., the country’s largest fixed-line operator, announced the measure in a post on its Facebook page.

The return of availability was sudden after so many years, Shahzad Ahmad, director at Bytes for All, an organization that fights for Internet rights, said by phone from Islamabad. Bytes for All had contested the YouTube blocking.

The popular website was banned in September 2012 after a short film depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a womanizer triggered a series of violent demonstrations. In Pakistan, protesters and police clashed outside U.S. consulates in Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar and burnt down cinemas.

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