Pakistan blocks twitter over blasphemous drawings

KARACHI: Micro-blogging website Twitter has been temporarily banned across Pakistan on Sunday by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), Express News reported.

Express News correspondent Suhail Chaudhry reported that the access to Twitter was blocked due to an ongoing “competition” of Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) caricatures.

This move was made, keeping in mind the “emotions of the masses” reported Chaudhry.

PTA Chairman Dr Mohammad Yaseen said the regulator was asked by the Ministry of Information and Technology to block the website in the country.

“We just passed on the directives to the Internet Service Providers (ISPs),” he told The Express Tribune. “I can’t say for how long the website will remain blocked.”

Pakistan’s government had asked Twitter to stop a discussion on Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), which was considered derogatory, Yaseen said, adding that “Twitter refused our request.”

Government and the website officials are in negotiations.

The PTA blocked the access to Twitter directly from the upstream links without notifying the ISPs, said Wahajuz Siraf, convener for Internet Services Providers Association of Pakistan (ISPAK).

Denying the news, PTA spokesperson Colonel Muhammad Younus said that he “does not know anything about the ban”, adding that he “would check” if anything like this has happened.

Express News reported that the Ministry of Information and Technology tried getting through to authorities on Twitter throughout the night and that about five faxes were sent to the micro-blogging website.

Eventually, in reply to PTA’s e-mail, Twitter authorities replied saying that they “cannot stop any individual doing anything of this nature on the website”.

Google Pakistan Country Consultant Badar Khushnood confirmed the blockage on his Twitter. via, tribune

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