Pakistan Unbans PUBG After One Month Following Discussions With Legal Representatives

The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority finally unbanned PUBG after nearly a month of the game remaining banned in the nation. The PTA met with representatives from the PUBG team to discuss the issues with the app and were satisfied with the answers and cooperation shown. This marks the end of a confusing series of events that saw conflicting decisions by various authorities in the nation that caused quite a bit of confusion in the gaming community. While the PTA did not distinguish between the PC version and PUBG MOBILE in any of its statements, it was understood that the mobile version was the one largely in question. 

On July 2, the PTA announced a decision to ban PUBG in the country. It made note of a case of suicide related to the game and stated that “the game is addictive, wastage of time, and poses serious negative impact on physical and psychological health of children.” The ban was temporary and a hearing was scheduled on July 9. 

At the hearing, the Islamabad High Court asked for the ban to be lifted but there were complications and the PTA cited the Protection of Electronic Crimes Act of 2016 in deciding to keep the game blocked. It was also mentioned that the PTA had approached PUBG management to share data about user sessions and controls in place by the company and was still waiting to hear back from them. 

Finally, on July 30, the PTA released a public statement saying that the ban on the game would be lifted. A discussion with legal representatives from Proxima Beta Pte Ltd had turned out to be fruitful and the PTA were satisfied with the responses to their queries. PB, who is listed as the data controllers for PUBG MOBILE, was open to continued engagement with the authorities and implementing comprehensive control mechanism measures according to the statement. 

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The South Asian region has seen a recent trend in activities pertaining to banning of popular esport titles. In India, Mobile Legends and 58 Chinese apps were banned last month after engaging in activities that were considered to be “prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.” More recently, a report from the Economic Times hinted at the possibility of a ban on PUBG MOBILE. The entire chain of incidents is an effect of the increasing political and military tensions between India and China. 

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