We have become accustomed to the ban on one popular mobile application after another in India, all of a sudden Pakistan suddenly suspended all social media platforms and created a stir again! Communications such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter have been temporarily shut down in neighboring countries. According to the report, the government of Pakistan has taken this important decision to stop the propaganda of violent protests or demonstrations by a banned extremist religious group in that country.
In fact, last Thursday the government banned a violent group called Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) and arrested Saad Hussain Rizvi. This was followed by nationwide protests on Monday, the beginning of the week, with TLP supporters clashing with several Pakistani cities and law enforcement agencies. Seven people were killed and 300 police were injured in the incident.
In the wake of the upheaval, the Home Ministry has directed the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) to suspend social media services for a total of four hours from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Pakistan time (PST) after Friday prayers to avoid protests on social media. In this case, the PTA said that based on these guidelines, Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Telegram and YouTube can be completely blocked access.
In this context, suspension of internet or mobile phone service is not a new issue for Pakistan. The country has taken such steps several times in the past under the pressure of extreme protests or terrorism. This time, however, the TLP was using these media extensively against government action, with only social media being specifically targeted.