Pakistan’s digital trade had demanded that the federal government deal with the nation’s digital transformation reasonably than transferring forward with “Ban-Astan” whereas additionally urging for a digital emergency in February. Only a week later, the federal government banned TikTok, and a month and a half later, the federal government banned social media nationwide this Friday, the eighth recorded occasion of such a ban. The query that arises is, how will the Imran Khan-led authorities materialize its famed “Digital Pakistan” imaginative and prescient, convey PayPal to Pakistan (a long-standing election promise) or persuade the social media giants to open places of work in Pakistan, with little regard for its residents’ digital rights?

Here’s a rundown of Pakistan’s decade lengthy historical past of banning numerous types of social media for spiritual, political, and social causes:

1- YouTube Ban (2008)

YouTube was blocked in Pakistan following a choice taken by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority on 22 February 2008 due to a controversial Dutch movie. On 26 February 2008, the ban was lifted after the web site had eliminated the objectionable content material from its servers on the demand of the Authorities of Pakistan.

2- YouTube, Flickr, and Fb Ban (2010)

On 19 and 20 Might 2010, Pakistan’s Telecommunication Authority PTA imposed a ban on Wikipedia, YouTube, Flickr, and Fb in response to “objectionable content material.”  The ban was lifted on 27 Might 2010.

3- Fb Yahoo, MSN, and Wikipedia Ban (2011)

The Chief Justice of the Lahore Excessive Court docket dominated in favor of a petition to ban social networking web sites, together with Fb, Yahoo, MSN, and Wikipedia.

4- YouTube Ban (2012-2016)

In September 2012, the PTA blocked the video-sharing web site YouTube and 20,000 different web sites on account of “objectionable” content material. The ban was lifted in 2016 after YouTube launched an area model for Pakistan.

5- YouTube, Twitter, and Fb Ban (2017)

On 25 November 2017, mass-scale blocking of social media and content-sharing web sites, together with YouTube, Twitter, and Fb, all through Pakistan was imposed by the federal government in response to violent protests and lifted after the protests’ finish. 

6- 1st TikTok Ban (2020)

On October ninth, 2020, TikTok was banned by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) for “immoral content material,” quickly after PM Imran’s assertion that the platform spreads vulgarity. After the TikTok administration held a digital assembly with PTA to foyer for its restoration and assuring to take away objectionable content material, TikTok was unbanned after remaining inaccessible for 10 days.

7- 2nd TikTok Ban (2021)

Lower than 6 months after the first ban, Peshawar Excessive Court docket (PHC) ordered a 2nd ban on the app on March 11, in response to a petition filed within the excessive courtroom on September 8, 2020. The ban was put in place for a similar causes cited for the first ban. The Peshawar Excessive Court docket (PHC), later that month, lifted the ban on TikTok, directing the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to take extra steps to curb immoral content material.

8- Full Social Media Ban (2021)

The Pakistan Telecommunication (PTA) was directed to close the companies of Twitter, WhatsApp, Fb, YouTube, and Telegram on 16th April 2021, for Four hours to take care of the “regulation and order scenario” because it stood as the one choice obtainable to the authorities.

No finish in sight to Ban-Estan

The fixed banning of social media platforms not solely impacts the livelihoods of these hooked up to it however hurts the IT-enabled companies and damages Pakistan’s repute globally – a truth acknowledged by PTI’s very personal Zia Bangash. Regardless of repeated pleas by the IT sector to finish the ban tradition, there seems to be no finish in sight.

Why would any IT/tech/social media firm need to spend money on a rustic that maintains such an unstable digital environment and retains banning social media on the very first signal of bother? The truth that regardless of the federal government’s urging, most main tech firms are reluctant to launch in Pakistan shouldn’t come as a shock.