Pakistan’s Punjab to ban social media platforms for 6 days during Muharram to control ‘hate material’

LAHORE, July 5: After blocking X, formerly Twitter, for over four months, the government in Pakistan’s Punjab province is now set to ban all social media platforms — YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok — for six days between July 13 and 18, citing the need to control “hate material” during the Islamic month of Muharram.
Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz’s cabinet committee on law and order has recommended banning of all social media platforms — YouTube, X, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, among others — during 6th to 11th day of Muharram (July 13-18) in Punjab, a province of over 120 million people, to “control hate material, misinformation to avoid sectarian violence”, according to a notification issued here late Thursday night.
The Punjab government of Maryam Nawaz has also requested her uncle Shehbaz Sharif’s government at the Centre to notify the suspension of all social media platforms on internet for six days (July 13-18).
Pakistan Army Chief Gen Asim Munir has already declared social media a “vicious media” and underscored the need to fight what he called “digital terrorism”.
Pakistan’s Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar, who also holds the portfolio of foreign minister, recently called for placing a complete ban on social media.
The Shehbaz government had shut down X in last February following allegations of change of general election results by the Election Commission of Pakistan, apparently on the order of the military establishment to stop Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s jailed founder Imran Khan from coming to power.
Both the military and the government were receiving backlash on social media since the ouster of former prime minister Imran Khan through a no-confidence motion in April 2022.
The government has arrested dozens of social media activists of Khan’s party since then. (PTI)

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