Amidst fears of violence, PTA blocks multiple social media platforms; mobile data disconnected in some localities

Islamabad, 16 April 2021: Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has confirmed shutting down multiple social media and messaging applications in the country. According to user reports, mobile data has also been disconnected in select locations across different cities. 

According to media reports, PTA has moved to block WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and some other applications on Friday, 16th April, from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. According to sources contacted by DRM, the decision has been made on request from the Ministry of Interior to “maintain the law and order situation”.

Sources referred to the recent violence across the country from the recently proscribed Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan workers and supporters. The decision has been taken to pre-empt any incitement and violence following the Friday sermons and prayers.

Many users in different cities have confirmed that Twitter is down, while WhatsApp is still working, at a very slow speed. There are mixed reports about the operational status of other platforms including Facebook, Instagram and Youtube. At the time of publication of this news, no official notification is available at the PTA website, detailing the list of applications that are being temporarily blocked.

Update: According to media reports, the Ministry of Interior has directed PTA to block Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Telegram and Instagram till 3:00 pm.

Update: Users in different cities have confirmed that mobile data and voice services have also been blocked in multiple cities. Media reports suggest that selective disconnection of mobile and data services has also been done on orders directions from the Ministry of Interior.

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