Pakistan Temporarily Blocks Facebook, Twitter After TLP's Protests
In a shocking move, social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter have been blocked for a few hours in Pakistan, reported by local media on Friday.
According to the Interior Ministry, the move has been made to maintain the law and order in the country following violent protests by a banned religious party, Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has shut down social media apps such as Facebook, Tik Tok, Twitter, Instagram, etc till 3 pm.
Previously, on April 13, violent protests flared up across the country after TLP protesters filled the streets and took the lives of two policemen and injured more than 300 people. They also damaged public and private property.
The TLP had been demanding the government to expel the French ambassador and prohibit the import of goods from France over the blasphemy issue.
Because of the worsening of law and order situation in the country, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed announced that the government has banned TLP under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
According to him, no case will be taken back which is registered against TLP men about violence during protests. He underlined that no one will be spared by the government who is involved in creating law and order and damaging public and private property.
In the past, Pakistan imposed new rules leading social media that raised issues about freedom of expression and human rights in the country. Under the new legislation, social media platforms that do not observe the content removal demands of the PTA will experience bans and penalties.
The rules for Removal and Blocking of Illegal Online Content became operational after the government issued a Gazette Notification on October 20, 2020, by which it approved them.
Since February 2020, the government has been trying to establish a set of rules that not only restrict dissent and ban any entertainment assumed against the moral and religious ethics of society but also prevent critical voices.
In September 2020, TikTok, PUBG, YouTube and dating Apps were among the platforms that received complaints from the PTA to ban content if they want to continue working in Pakistan.