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Fri 16 April 2021:

The social media sites have been restored in Pakistan which were earlier shut on the orders of the Interior Ministry for four hours.

The federal government had on Friday directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to suspend social media platforms in the country from 11am-3pm.

In a notice to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, the Interior Ministry requested a “complete blocking” of Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp, YouTube and Telegram until 3 p.m. (11 a.m. GMT).

“It is requested that immediate action may be taken on the subject matter,” the ministry directed the PTA chairman.

Shortly after, the PTA released an official statement saying: “In order to maintain public order and safety, access to certain social media applications has been restricted temporarily.”

It comes a day after French nationals and companies in Pakistan were advised by their embassy to temporarily leave in the wake of the rallies led by an extremist party that paralyzed large parts of the country and left two police officers dead.


The ministry, in a statement, said that the PTA has been ordered to blocked the services of Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube, and Telegram and Twitter in the country.

“….complete access to social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube and Telegram) may be blocked from 1100hrs to 1500hrs on 16th April 2021 across the country,” read the notification issued by the ministry to chairman PTA.

“In order to maintain public order and safety, access to certain social media applications has been restricted temporarily,” the PTA had said.

TV, radio coverage of proscribed organisation TLP banned

On Thursday, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) banned coverage by all television and radio licensees of the proscribed Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).

PEMRA’s notification followed one by the Ministry of Interior which declared the TLP a banned organisation for engaging in acts of terrorism, and acting in a manner prejudicial to the peace and security of the country over the course of its recent three-day long nationwide protests.

Thousands of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) supporters spilled onto the streets on Monday after their leader was detained following his calls for the expulsion of the French ambassador.

Anti-French sentiment has been festering for months in Pakistan since President Emmanuel Macron threw his support behind a satirical magazine, which republished cartoons depicting Prophet Mohammed – an act deemed blasphemous by many Muslims.

Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive issue in conservative Pakistan, where laws allow for the death penalty to be used on anyone deemed to have insulted Islam or Islamic figures. Criticism of France erupted in autumn last year when the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo republished cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. 

Macron’s subsequent defense of the magazine triggered anger across the Muslim world, with tens of thousands in Pakistan, neighboring Iran and other Muslim countries flooding the streets and organizing anti-French boycotts.

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