Wikipedia services have been returned in Pakistan on the instructions of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, restoring access to the website.
On the suggestion of a cabinet committee, the PM had earlier in the day ordered the quick restoration of Wikipedia in Pakistan.
Wikipedia is a free, open-source, editable online encyclopaedia that millions of people use to learn the basics.
On February 1, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) degraded Wikipedia services in the country because inappropriate content was not filtered or removed. In addition, the telecom authority warned that if Wikipedia did not comply within 48 hours, the portal will be blocked in Pakistan.
Wikipedia services in Pakistan were later suspended on February 3 due to the reluctance to erase sacrilegious information.
After the website was shut down, the Wikimedia Foundation encouraged Pakistan to reopen access to Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects as soon as possible.
According to the Wikimedia Foundation, access to knowledge is a fundamental human right. Wikipedia, the world’s largest online encyclopaedia, is the principal source of credible information for millions of people. According to its mission statement, it is a constantly increasing historical record that allows people of all faiths, traditions, and cultures to contribute to everyone’s understanding of their respective faith, tradition, and culture.
According to the Wikimedia Foundation, Pakistan, the world’s fifth most populous country, is unable to access the world’s largest free information repository due to a Wikipedia blockage there. If it continues, everyone will lose access to Pakistan’s information, history, and culture.
According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, the decision to outlaw Wikipedia “betrays a willful lack of understanding of the role that social media play in allowing people to receive, fact-check, discuss, and respond to news and information” (HRCP).
It urged that PTA promptly change its decision after calling the prohibition absurd.
According to Amnesty International South Asia, Wikipedia’s bank is an unreasonable restriction on free expression and must be eliminated immediately and unconditionally.
A number of other IT organisations, civil society organisations, and academics have also called for the repeal of the Wikipedia ban in Pakistan.