Social media will be banned for six days in Pakistan’s Punjab during Muharram

Lahore. The government of Pakistan’s Punjab province has decided to ban social media platforms YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok from July 13 to 18 with the aim of controlling hate-spreading content during the Islamic month of Muharram. According to a notification issued by the Punjab government late Thursday night, the Cabinet Committee on Law and Order of Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz has recommended banning all social media platforms – YouTube, X, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok etc. from July 13 to 18 in the province with a population of more than 120 million, so that hate-spreading content and misinformation can be controlled and communal violence can be avoided.

The Punjab government led by Maryam Nawaz has requested Pakistan Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif to ask the central government to issue a notification suspending all social media platforms on the Internet for six days (July 13 to 18). Shahbaz Sharif is Maryam Nawaz’s uncle. The Punjab government has decided to ban several social media platforms during Youm-e-Ashura, going beyond the regular measures of shutting down the Internet and jamming mobile phones, Dawn newspaper reported.

The provincial government has received information that external forces, including elements across the border, are trying to spread hate material. Youm-e-Ashura falls on the tenth day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar. Sources said the Punjab government had initially considered shutting down social media platforms on the 9th and 10th of Muharram. Cabinet Minister Syed Ashiq Hussain Kirmani said the Cabinet committee had suggested shutting down various social media apps to prevent spread of hate material.

Kirmani said the issue was discussed in a meeting that during Muharram, hate content on social media platforms, especially Facebook and X, increases manifold, which increases the possibility of violence between two communities rather than two individuals. He said, the spread of hate content especially during Muharram creates animosity and spoils the entire atmosphere. Kirmani said that it has been recommended to close social media platforms before, during and a day after Muharram.

Pakistan Army Chief General Asim Munir has already termed social media as rogue media and digital terrorism and stressed the need to deal with these social media platforms. Pakistan Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar also recently called for a complete ban on social media. The Shahbaz Sharif government had shut down social media platform X last February after allegations of manipulating the results of Pakistan’s general elections. This was apparently done on the orders of the military establishment to prevent Imran Khan, the jailed founder of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party (PTI), from coming to power.

Disclaimer: CricketInFocus has not edited this news. This news has been published from PTI-language feed.

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