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The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on 2 February said that it will block Wikipedia if the platform fails to take down content deemed to be sacrilegious within 48 hours, reported Bloomberg.

The country’s telecom regulator said that they have ‘degraded’ the platform's services on non-compliance of an earlier direction to remove ‘unlawful’ content, according to a statement.

Though PTA did not elaborate on measures taken. Adding more, the PTA made it clear that if Wikipedia fails to remove the content in question, it ‘will be blocked within Pakistan’.

“There is slowness and definitely it’ll impact especially those who use Wikipedia for education and information purposes," Wahaj-us-Siraj, Chief Executive Officer of internet provider Nayatel, said in a text message.

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Earlier on 1 February, PTA issued an official statement about the notice under applicable law and a court order was given to the services alongside an opportunity for a hearing.

"PTA has degraded Wikipedia services in the country on account of not blocking/removing sacrilegious contents. Wikipedia was approached for blocking/removal of the said contents by issuing a notice under applicable law and court order(s). An opportunity of hearing was also provided, however, the platform neither complied by removing the blasphemous content nor appeared before the Authority," the official statement of Pakistan Telecom Authority said in an official release.

"Given the intentional failure on part of the platform to comply with the directions of PTA, the services of Wikipedia have been degraded for 48 hours with the direction to block/remove the reported contents," the official release added.

As per details, blasphemy is a sensitive issue in Muslim-majority Pakistan and its laws condone capital punishment for anyone convicted of affronting Islam.

In the past too, Pakistan has taken action against various social media platforms for broadcasting content deemed blasphemous.

With agency inputs.

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