The Borneo Post (Sabah)
Pakistan orders temporary social media shutdown after violent protests
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan government on Friday ordered an hours-long shut down of social media and instant messaging platforms after days of violent anti-France protests.
In a notice to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, the Interior Ministry requested a “complete blocking” of Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp, YouTube and Telegram until 3pm (1100 GMT).
It gave no reason for the ban, but 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 paralysed large parts of the country and left two police officers dead.
Political parties frequently use social media to rally supporters and the announcement came just before Friday prayers, which usually draw huge crowds to mosques where firebrand sermons have in the past catalysed protests.
Pakistan authorities have used strategic social media bans and cuts to mobile service in the past in an attempt to head off major protests by preventing leaders from issuing mass calls for demonstrations.
Thousands of Tehreeke-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. — AFP