Pakistan blocks Wikipedia due to ‘sacrilegious’ content

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan Pakistan has banned Wikipedia after threatening the crowd-sourced online encyclopedia with "sacrilegious content," according to the Wikimedia Foundation.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has previously blocked social media giants Facebook and YouTube for blasphemous content, a highly sensitive issue in Muslim-majority Pakistan. Their suspension was lifted.

A PTA spokesperson told the local press that the website was blocked on Saturday due to noncompliance with the institution’s order.

The PTA stated on Wednesday that the website had until this Friday to comply without elaborating on the content.

"The PTA has degraded Wikipedia services in the country due to the failure to block/remove sacrilegious content," the authority added.

In response to the PTA, the Wikimedia Foundation, which runs Wikipedia, urged Pakistani authorities to reopen the website.

"We believe that access to knowledge is a basic human right. "A block of Wikipedia in Pakistan denies the world’s fifth most populous nation access to the largest free knowledge repository," it tweeted on Saturday.

"We hope that the Pakistan government will join us in recognizing knowledge as a human right and quickly restores access to Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects so that Pakistanis can continue to receive and share knowledge with the rest of the world."

On social media, Pakistanis slammed the decision as "regressive" and an embarrassment to the country’s global image.