Pakistan Restores Social Media Access After Temporary Ban Amid Anti-France Protests, Netizens React

Islamabad: Access to Social media has been restored in Pakistan after the government temporarily blocked several social media platforms in the country on Friday until 3 pm without citing any particular reason.

It is being believed that the move is aimed to thwart the attempts of a radical Islamist group that might use these websites to trigger violent protests against France over the cartoon of Prophet Muhammad published last year.

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Followers of far-right Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) have blocked roads as a part of their protests that started on Monday. They want the government to fulfill its earlier promise of expelling the French Ambassador by April 20, news agency IANS reported.

The demand has been raised bringing back the memory of the Prophet Muhammad cartoon published in satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo last year, triggering a backlash.

In the ongoing protests, at least five people including two police officers have been killed prompting the France Embassy in Islamabad to urge French nationals to leave Pakistan temporarily.

“Social media has been blocked for a few hours so that troublemakers can not use it during Friday prayers congregations,” an official told DPA, IANS reported.

People across the country, including the national capital Islamabad, lost access to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, and TikTok.

Meanwhile, here are some reactions share by users on Twitter: 

Besides Political parties, Islamist groups and militant organisations also heavily rely on social media platforms to connect with followers and spread their agenda. Will the protest situation escalate ahead? Remains to be seen.

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