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Pakistan plans to blackout all the social media sites for six days in the month of Muharram

  • Posted on July 5, 2024
  • News

Pakistan plans to ban all major social media platforms for six days during Muharram to control misinformation and sectarian violence. The move, recommended by Punjab's government, expands on previous restrictions and reflects growing concerns about social media's impact in the country.


Continuing from its previous ban, the Government of Pakistan has again blocked all the leading social media sites for six days during Muharram. This decision has been arrived at following the country’s four-month blockade of X, which was formerly known as Twitter.

The ban, which will be conducted from July 13 to 18, will target various social media platforms such as YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. This is in a notification by the Punjab government saying that the move will help “prevent hate material, misinformation that leads to sectarian conflict during the period of 6th to 11th Muharram”.

An official of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), Maryam Nawaz, in her capacity as the Chief Minister of Punjab province which has a population of over 120 million people proposed the ban due to security reasons. The provincial government has written to the chief executive of the federation, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, urging him to suspend these applications across the country.

This comes at the backdrop of recent statements by some of the top authorities in Pakistan’s leadership about the dangers of social media. The current Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir has described social media as ‘vicious media’ and highlighted the need to counter what he calls ‘digital terrorism’. The Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mr Ishaq Dar has even gone to the extent of urging for shutting down social media.

Despite the previous relatively moderate approach to social media, the government’s position has become more rigid since the removal of former Prime Minister Imran Khan in April 2022. Police have detained several Twitter users connected with Khan’s party, as well as several others; all reported receiving backlash on social media.

Also Read: Pakistani spies allegedly used three different apps to hack the Laptop of BrahMos missile engineer

This is the latest attempt made by Pakistan to regulate content published on social media and other platforms, especially during periods of heightened tensions. As we approach the time when the ban takes effect, issues of freedom of speech and information access will cause increased national and global ripples.

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