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Pakistan YouTube block lifted for 3 minutes

Pakistani Web surfers may have caught a glimpse of the "Gangnam Style" video on Saturday after the country's ban on YouTube was lifted - for three minutes.

As noted by the New York Times, a ban on the Google-owned video site was lifted after officials thought that an anti-Islam video had been removed from YouTube. That apparently was not the case, and the ban was back in place minutes after the service was made available.

The most recent blockade of YouTube in Pakistan was put in place in September after an anti-Islam film, Innocence of Muslims, made its way to YouTube, sparking protests across the Muslim world.

On 28 December, Pakistan's interior minister Rehman Malik tweeted that great demand to unblock YouTube "from all sections of society" pushed the country to reopen access.

"Expect the notification today!" he wrote. "Hope u r all happy now."

In a separate tweet, Malik explained that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) "is finalizing negotiations for acquiring a powerful firewall software to totally block pornographic and blasphemous material."

But not long after the ban was lifted, private news network Geo reported that anti-Islam material was still available on YouTube, leading Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf to again shut down access to the site, the Times said.

Geo news anchor Mansoor Ali Khan took to Twitter site to poke fun at his government, which he said were acting like "two kids sitting under a light switch and playing on/off with YouTube."

Mohsin Sayeed, a member of the Pakistani media, responded directly to Malik, saying "Thank you for respecting people's demand. And do convey our displeasure and anger to the PM who blocked it again."

In fact, Pakistani's leaders - namely Ashraf - were the subject of many displeased tweets from residents.

"Wow! How powerful the PM of Pakistan is," Salma Jafar wrote. "He can block [YouTube]."

This is not the first time Pakistan has tangled with YouTube. The site was blocked in 2008 after cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad outraged many Muslims. It was blocked again in 2010 over "blasphemous" material. The country has also gone after Twitter and Facebook on similar charges.

That May 2010 Facebook ban actually pushed Malik to join Twitter, where he regularly interacts with followers.