The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) announced Thursday that the popular video-sharing social media app TikTok would be unblocked in Pakistan after the Peshawar High Court rescinded its March ban on the Chinese app over concerns of alleged “obscene content . . . unacceptable for Pakistani society.” The PTA announced that while the ban would be lifted, TikTok’s management was advised to ensure “vulgar and objectionable content” was to be made inaccessible to users to prevent further action against the app.
TikTok was banned in March in Pakistan following a court case where Pakistani residents petitioned for the ban, arguing that the app’s content was incompatible with the Islamic values mandated by the Pakistani constitution. Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan then agreed, finding that many TikTok videos were immoral and unsuitable for Pakistani society, particularly concerning the deterioration of morals in youth.
Reversing this decision, the Peshawar High Court found Thursday that if the content on TikTok could be properly regulated by the PTA, the app could operate in Pakistan. TikTok became the most-downloaded social media app in Pakistan in 2019, and it has remained popular with Pakistani youth across the country.
TikTok responded positively to the ruling, saying that it was a “testament to TikTok’s continued commitment to enforcing our Community Guidelines to promote a safe and positive community online” and that the company would “acknowledge [the PTA’s] support and ongoing productive dialogue” in regulating the content that appears on the app.
Pakistan is not the only country where TikTok has encountered legal difficulties. Disputes over privacy issues have resulted in litigation in Italy, the UK, and the US, while former President Trump famously signed an executive order in August 2020 that unsuccessfully attempted to ban the use of TikTok in the US for national security reasons.
TikTok remains one of the world’s most popular social media apps, with more than 2 billion global downloads to date.