Pakistan bans social media to curb anti-France proteststext_fields
Islamabad: Pakistan on Friday announced a temporary shutdown of social media platforms amid fears that activists of a radical Islamist group might use technology to ignite violence amid anti-F France protests.
As violent protests started on Monday, the followers of far-right group Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), which supports the country's controversial blasphemy laws were seen to have blocked roads and chocked streets report DPA news agency.
The protesters demanded that the government fulfil an earlier promise to expel the French Ambassador by April 20 over the publication of a cartoon depicting the prophet last year.
At least five people including two police officers have been killed in the protests, which have prompted 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.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp and TikTok are inaccessible across the country, including the capital Islamabad.
Political parties, Islamist groups and militant organisations like the Pakistani Taliban heavily rely on social media platforms to connect with their followers.
(With agency inputs)