Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
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Pakistan Government Considers Banning Active Social Media Accounts to Stop Incitement

Monday 29/May/2023 - 06:44 PM
The Reference
Mustafa Mohammed

The Pakistani government is reportedly considering a new decision to ban active social media accounts across the country, following recent events and concerns over the exploitation of these accounts and platforms for political purposes and inciting the public in favor of specific individuals.

After the circulation and sharing of videos showing acts of vandalism in the country, the Pakistani government aims to ban all active accounts on social media platforms to halt the spread of violence and anti-government protests.

Following intense protests that erupted after the arrest of Imran Khan, the leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, in mid-May, the government suspended mobile data services and blocked the use of social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Mobile data services have since been restored in Pakistan after pressure from various entities to regain internet services and access to social media platforms. However, access to major social media platforms remains prohibited as the Ministry of Interior has not yet allowed access to these platforms, according to the Pakistani newspaper "Dawn."

Imran Khan, who is facing numerous legal cases and has been levying accusations against the powerful Pakistani military since his ousting from power, was released on bail after the Supreme Court deemed his arrest illegal. The former Pakistani Prime Minister called for new protests in the country and stated that he would soon launch his campaign for early elections.

In a speech delivered to his supporters from his residence in Lahore, Imran Khan said, "Freedom cannot be easily obtained. It must be wrested, and sacrifices must be made for it." He called on his supporters to demonstrate in the streets, villages, and everywhere in Pakistan.

Regarding Islamabad's efforts to ban active accounts on social media platforms, Haider Ahmed, a researcher on Pakistani affairs, confirmed that the government is already considering banning such accounts nationwide in the near future, as it has done in the past on a limited scale.

The Pakistani affairs researcher explained to "The Reference" that the government's ban, if implemented, would cover all significant domains witnessing citizen gatherings, in fear of social media platforms being used for political purposes and incitement amid the ongoing situation. This is especially relevant after Imran Khan's call for new protests in the country following his release, stating that he would soon begin his campaign for early elections.