Punjab Govt Plans for a 6-Day Social Media Suspension in Muharram

Internet suspensions have certainly become a common sight in Pakistan. As the month of Muharram is approaching, an internal outage/social media suspension was expected. In this regard, the Punjab government has requested the interior ministry to suspend social media apps from Muharram 6 to 11. It is being done to control the spread of hate material and misinformation, consequently preventing sectarian violence.

According to a credible source, the provincial government received reports indicating that ‘external forces,’ including cross-border elements, were involved in spreading hate content and memes. Therefore, the Punjab government planned more targeted measures to address these concerns.

However, on the other hand, the Punjab Home Department and the Standing Committee of Cabinet on Law and Order (SCCLO) noted that shutting down the internet causes problems for the general public. They also said  that most misinformation and hate material were propagated via social media apps, which can still be accessed through VPNs.

After consultations, the Home Department sent a letter to the interior ministry’s secretary. The letter requested the suspension of multiple social media platforms, including Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, TikTok, etc across the province from Muharram 6 to 11.

The provincial government’s proactive approach highlights the importance of maintaining peace and security during Muharram. However, suspending social media and the internet can cause problems for the public, particularly those who earn through these platforms.

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