YouTube could remain blocked in Pakistan indefinitely, as the government has refused to unblock access to the video sharing website in the country until Google, which owns the website, restricts access to the anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims in Pakistan.
Google's decision not to restrict access to the video in Pakistan, while complying with requests to do so in Indonesia, Egypt, Libya, India, and even Brazil has left many of its users in Pakistan perplexed, reports The Express Tribune.
A spokesperson for YouTube explained that the decision not to block access in Pakistan had to do with the way the company serves content to its Pakistani users.
"We offer a localised version of YouTube in 49 countries around the world. In each localised country, we offer local content that is more relevant to users in that country and we also abide by that country's laws.
When we are notified that a video is illegal, we will restrict access to it in that country after a thorough review," the spokesperson said.
"In countries where we are not localised, like Pakistan, people access the global version of YouTube on youtube.com," she added.
This global version of YouTube follows U.S. law, which has the broadest definitions of free speech anywhere in the world.
Google officials visited Pakistan late last month in what appears to be the beginning of the process Pakistan to deepen its relationship with the country, but in the aftermath of the controversy over the film that process is likely to be affected, sources said.
Many Pakistani users of Android-based phones, which utilise Google's software and make extensive use of its services, have been badly affected by the blockage, though others report less disruptions.