Pakistan’s Ministry of Interior on Friday directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to temporarily block access to social media platforms — Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube and Telegram — from 11 am to 3 pm, Pakistan media reported.
“It is requested that immediate action may be taken on the subject matter,” the ministry directed the PTA chairman.
Shortly after, the PTA released an official statement saying: “In order to maintain public order and safety, access to certain social media applications has been restricted temporarily.”
Following the interior ministry’s directives, Nayatel — an internet service provider — said in a message to its customers that social media platforms had been blocked on the directions of the PTA, Pakistan based news organisation Dawn reported.
These platforms include Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, TikTok and Telegram. “The inconvenience is regretted,” it said.
Although the notification issued by the interior ministry did not mention a reason for the suspension, the development comes after several days of unrest in the country due to protests by the recently proscribed Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).
Detained TLP chief Saad Rizvi, in a purported handwritten note shared by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Communication Shahbaz Gill late on Thursday, had urged his followers to maintain law and order and avoid blocking roads and highways.
In the letter, Rizvi had asked TLP supporters to peacefully go back to their homes and cooperate with law enforcement agencies, the report said.