After a month of confusion involving PUBG, the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority and the High Court in Islamabad, the game has been given a free kick.Gambling was banned for almost a month in the country and conflicting decisions were taken by different authorities, leading to a messy situation.
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Pakistan finally cancels PUBG
On July 2, the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority issued a statement that gambling would be temporarily banned until a hearing was held on July 9. The official reason given was that “Gambling is addictive, a waste of time and has a serious negative impact on the physical and psychological health of children.” On the day of the hearing, the Islamabad High Court ordered the PTA to lift the ban. However, the PTA released a statement saying gambling will continue to remain banned due to an order passed by the Lahore High Court. They also invoked the Electronic Crime Prevention Act 2016 and it was said that the PTA had contacted PUBG management for a discussion on an appropriate framework to address key concerns, but had not received a response from PUBG.
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Yesterday, July 30, the PTA again issued a statement that the they had finally succeeded in speaking to representatives of Proxima Beta Pte Ltd and the discussions had been fruitful. PB are the official data controllers of the game and were able to convince the PTA regarding the security concerns and misuse of the platform. PB also called on the PTA to remove the ban on gambling and was willing to work with them, emphasizing continued engagement and a full vetting mechanism.
The decision will be good news for Pakistani players, who appealed via social media. Some big names, including Tekken’s top player in the world, Arslan Ash, have spoken out in favor of phasing out the game and promoting esports in the country. Pakistan team, FreeStyle was playing in PUBG Mobile World League Season Zero for the past two weeks, but has since been eliminated.
More recently, PUBG Mobile has also gone under the scanner in India for reasons of data privacy and national security. According to reports, India has put together a list of 275 Chinese apps that are suspicious of unsavory activities, including PUBG Mobile. In June 2020, India banned 59 Chinese apps, including Mobile Legends: Bang Bang.