An earlier order to Internet service providers and mobile firms to reopen YouTube Dec. 29 was canceled shortly after it was issued after the government found the anti-Islamic video "Innocence of Muslims" had not been removed from the site, Dawn newspaper reported.
"We believe in access to free information. The only reason not to unblock YouTube is the presence of blasphemous material on it. We will open it as soon as we have a filtration mechanism," Ashraf told the 8th South Asian Free Media Conference in Lahore, the report said.
The Express Tribune in a recent report, however, said YouTube will likely remain inaccessible in Pakistan in the foreseeable future as the three-month-old talks between officials of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and Google, which owns YouTube, have not convinced the Internet giant to remove the "Innocence of Muslims" video from the website. The report said Google also does not have a localized version of the video.
It quoted sources as saying ISPs in Pakistan, who are affected by the YouTube ban, have been lobbying to push Google to register the website in Pakistan so they can autonomously block all links seen as being offensive.