Online game Players’ Unknown Battle Ground remains blocked in Pakistan even after the Islamabad High Court ordered the authorities to remove the ban on the game on July 24.
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority said that it won't unblock the game. It said, in a detailed verdict, that it has the mandate to make the decision under Section 37 of the PECA. The section gives the authority the power to block access to or remove 'speech' from content it finds objectionable.
It said that it took the decision because it "received numerous complaints/letters from other segments of society on the issue of banning PUBG".
The authority remarked that it came across various "papers and reports on the impact of internet games, specifically PUBG, on the mental and physical health" of the players.
It said that the game affects players in the following ways:
- Violence: Excessive violence can set off aggressive emotions, thoughts, and behaviour in players.
- Addiction: PUBG makes people less productive.
- Less social/human interaction: Due to long playing hours, the player ends up becoming less socially active.
- Bad physical health: Sitting around in one place and playing for long hours is not good for physical health. Staring at the computer screen for long hours can affect eyesight and cause a headache.
- Bad mental health: In 2018, the WHO concluded video gaming addiction was a mental disorder. Video games are known to be the reason for depressions in many people and people who are addicted to PUBG many get easily stressed out or face anxiety issues in public due to less social interaction.
- Less sleep: One might not feel like sleeping because the game isn't over yet. So, in the time one should be sleeping, he can end up playing a game which affects his sleeping pattern.
- Bad academic scores: The academic performance of students is affected as gaming sessions tend to last longer.
- Losing family: Some people like to play PUBG during family functions and it leads to a lack of communication and understanding.
- Gets irritable: A child, who is addicted to gaming, tends to get irritated at the smallest of things or if parents interfere in something.
The Islamabad High Court ordered the PTA to unblock the game while approving a petition filed against the authority’s decision to ban the game in Pakistan.
The PTA, however, said that the ban it imposed on the online game will remain in place. The authority had asked the game developers to share data about PUBG sessions, its users in Pakistan and regulatory measures, but no response has been received yet.