Pakistan's Attempt To Ban Twitter At The Weekend Was A Complete Failure

The Pakistani government banned Twitter for eight hours on Sunday before the Prime Minister intervened and ordered service to be restored, The Washington Post reports.

The ban was handed down to the Internet Service Providers Association of Pakistan because of Twitter’s refusal to remove “blasphemous” content from their site, namely, tweets encouraging people to participate in the “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day”, where people create their own depictions of Prophet Mohammed (which aren’t allowed by Islam). It’s unclear why the government lifted the ban.

The ban quickly became a farce. Interior Minister Rehman Malik initially tweeted:

Malik had to backtrack later when it was banned. Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington, Sherry Rehman, posted several tweets until it was pointed out she may be violating the ban.

Many of the country’s six million Twitter users were also able to use their smartphones and various software that disguised their location to circumvent the ban. Author Kamila Shamsie tweeted:

Meanwhile columnist Marvi Sirmed griped:

Pakistan had previously banned 1,000 sites, including YouTube and Facebook for hosting content connected to Everybody Draw Mohammed Day, according to Reuters. Facebook took down the “objectionable” content in May 2010.

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