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Pakistan Blocks Social Media Services to Counter Protests

TLP supporters protest in Islamabad on April 13.

TLP supporters protest in Islamabad on April 13.

Photographer: Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty Images

Pakistan’s communications regulator blocked social media sites for at least four hours on Friday without prior warning, in an unprecedented move aimed at countering fallout from protests by a radical Islamic group.

“In order to maintain public order and safety, access to certain social media applications has been restricted temporarily,” Khurram Mehran, a spokesman for Pakistan Telecom Authority, said in a text message. The services of Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Youtube, Instagram and other such sites have been blocked from 11am local time to 3pm, according to a notification.