The country was shaken for days by the mobilization of France related to comic rights. Paris called on its citizens to leave Pakistan on Thursday.
After several days of violent protests against France, the Pakistani government ordered the communications regulator to block social networks and instant messaging applications in the country for several hours on Friday, April 16.
In the notice sent to the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA), the Ministry of the Interior asked it to impose “Completely blocked” Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube and Telegram until 3pm local time (1pm in Paris).
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology did not give any reasons for this ban. But in the past few days, violent demonstrations against France have stirred up the entire country, especially at the initiative of the radical party Tehrik-e-Labbaik (Tehrik-e-Labbaik). Political parties often use social networks to mobilize their activists. The authorities fear that TLP will use Friday prayers to arouse dissatisfaction among its supporters, which will attract large numbers of people to the mosque.
Since President Emmanuel Macron has defended the right to satire in the name of freedom of expression, Pakistan’s resentment towards France has increased. Samuel Paty was a teacher who was killed on October 16 after showing his class caricature after reposting his description of the Prophet Muhammad every week Charlie Hebdo.
Sur Twitter, hashtag #frenchleavepakistan (“French, leave Pakistan”) was used in 42,000 tweets on Thursday. The TLP also condemned the position of the French President. Since its establishment in 2015, the TLP has been hoping to enact a law to punish blasphemy.