Monday, July 22, 2024
HomeNews ReportsPakistan to decide on banning social media for a week during Muharram so that...

Pakistan to decide on banning social media for a week during Muharram so that Shias and Sunnis don’t read abuses thrown at each other

Pakistan’s Ministry of Interior has currently deferred a decision on this matter. It has neither accepted nor rejected the Punjab government’s request to ban social media platforms during Muharram.

The Shehbaz Sharif government in Pakistan could impose a complete ban on six social media platforms namely X (Twitter), YouTube, TikTok, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook for around a week during Muharram. According to Pakistani media reports, the provincial government in Pakistan’s Punjab had asked the Central government to ban social media citing hatred and avoiding sectarian violence between Shias and Sunnis. Notably, the Punjab government is led by Maryam Nawaz, the niece of Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif. Earlier, Islamabad had blocked X (formerly Twitter) for over four months. 

As per reports, Pakistan’s Ministry of Interior has currently deferred a decision on this matter. It has neither accepted nor rejected the Punjab government’s request to ban social media platforms during Muharram. In a statement released on Friday (5th July), the Ministry stated that no decision had been taken so far regarding the internet shutdown. However, it added that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif would make the final decision in this regard. 

While the statement didn’t name any provincial government, it claimed that other provinces had also made similar requests as recommended by the Punjab government. 

Speaking with Pakistani outlet Dawn, an official had earlier said that instead of blocking access to social media platforms, foolproof security arrangements would be made. However, the official had hinted that cellular services would be suspended in some cities for a few hours on the 9th and 10th of Muharram.

According to a government notification issued late Thursday night (4th July), the cabinet committee on law and order of the Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz had recommended a ban on social media platforms from 6 to 11 Muharram to “control hate material, and misinformation to avoid sectarian violence” in the state.

Citing sources, Pakistani media reported that the Punjab government had initially planned social media suspension for two days, but it was based on “intelligence reports” that it went for more stringent measures.

Apart from provincial governments in Pakistan, Pakistan’s army chief Gen Asim Munir had once declared, “Social media is a vicious media” and emphasised the need to combat “digital terrorism.” Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar, who also serves as the foreign minister, had recently demanded a complete ban on social media.

During Muharram, Shia Muslims take out huge processions to mark the martyrdom of the grandson of the prophet of Islam. They observe his martyrdom as a symbol of resistance to tyranny. For this, they take out rallies during the first ten days of Muharram. This culminates into huge processions on the 9th and 10th of the month. However, the dominant Muslim sect in Pakistan, Sunnis has a historic theological rivalry with the Shias. 

Extremist Sunni outfits in Pakistan brand Shias as heretics and carry out bombings on Shia processions. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan has witnessed numerous such attacks in the past.

Meanwhile, earlier in February, the Shehbaz Sharif government had shut down X after the Election Commission of Pakistan raised allegations of tampering with general election results. However, it was seen as a move that was directed against Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf which had a strong presence on the micro-blogging site.  

Join OpIndia's official WhatsApp channel

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

Related Articles

Trending now

Recently Popular

- Advertisement -