Visitors stand in front of a logo of YouTube at the YouTube Space Tokyo
Representational Image: Pakistan will remove the block on YoouTube this week. In picture; A visitor stand in front of a logo of YouTube at the YouTube Space Tokyo.Reuters File

Pakistanis will be able to officially watch YouTube videos again after a ban of more than three years as the video streaming service will be restored this week.

On Monday, the Ministry of Information Technology issued a directive to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to unblock YouTube services, setting a deadline of 48 hours, according to Dawn.

The telecom officials have reportedly said that the 'blasphemous' content available on YouTube was removed in cooperation with Google. 

According to PTA Spokesman Khurram Mehran, Google had introduced a localised version of YouTube in Pakistan to ensure there was no controversial content. 

YouTube was blocked in Pakistan in September 2012 after the controversial American film 'Innocence of Muslims' was made available on the site. 

Despite the ban, many Internet users in Pakistan have used proxy servers and Virtual Private Networks to watch videos on the popular site.

Google had announced last week that it was bringing localised versions of YouTube to not only Pakistan but also Sri Lanka and Nepal.

"We have clear community guidelines, and when videos violate those rules, we remove them. In addition, where we have launched YouTube locally and we are notified that a video is illegal in that country, we may restrict access to it after a thorough review," Google's Communications Manager Zeffri Yusof had told The Express Tribune last week. 

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authoirty will continue to monitor the video streaming service to check if offensive videos emerge, and can ask Google to remove such content.

"Google has provided an online web process through which requests for blocking access [to] the offending material can be made by PTA to Google directly and Google/YouTube will accordingly restrict access to the said offending material for users within Pakistan," the telecom authority said.