Pakistan lifts ban on social networking websites, Faizabad Dharna continues

Pakistan lifts ban on social networking websites, Faizabad Dharna continues

The government of Pakistan has lifted the ban on social networking websites, we have confirmed. Earlier yesterday, Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) had banned over a dozen social networking websites hours after law enforcement agencies started the Faizabad Operation.

The government failed to clear Faizabad and surrounding areas. The operation fueled a series of nationwide protests by religious groups. Protestors of an Islamist political party are still observing a sit-in at Faizabad, the interchange that connects Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

Following a notice by Islamabad High Court, the government moved forces to clear the sit-in that has now entered its third week. The operation turned violent and over 200 people got injured. A police official lost his life as protestors started throwing stones at the law enforcement personnel in I-8 sector of Islamabad. A number of police vehicles were burnt and public property damaged.

Shortly after the operation was halted, PEMRA put on all Pakistani news channels. Cable operations and TV service providers were instructed to put over three dozen channels off-air.

Earlier today, PEMRA ordered to restore the suspended news channels but strict guidelines were given for coverage of the Faizabad Dharna. According to the guidelines, no channels will be allowed to give live coverage of the operation.

No notification was issued from PTA before the ban on social networks.

The transportation between Islamabad and Rawalpindi still remains in a state of paralysis.

A two-day holiday for educational institutions has been announced by the government of Punjab considering the security situation.

Protest continue throughout the country against the operation. Multiple cases of damages to public property were reported from Punjab and Sindh.

About The Author

Imran Ahmed Hunzai is a digital media consultant and co-founder of Islamabad-based digital agency Centangle Interactive . He covers stories from the Pakistani startup arena and interviews budding entrepreneurs in the region. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Google+