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federal Government Yet to Decide on Suspending Internet Services During Muharram

ISLAMABAD: The federal government has not yet made a decision regarding the suspension of internet services during the upcoming month of Muharram, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior confirmed on Friday.

The provincial governments had previously requested the suspension of six social media applications for approximately a week during Muharram, anticipated to commence on July 8, citing security concerns.

In a recent statement, the interior ministry spokesperson clarified that no final decision has been reached on the provincial governments’ requests and advised the public to disregard any rumors circulating on the matter.

Furthermore, the spokesperson emphasized that no directive has been issued by the Prime Minister’s Office regarding the suspension of internet services during this holy month. “Neither any application from any provincial government has been accepted nor rejected,” the interior ministry added.

Earlier reports indicated that the Punjab government highlighted the spread of hate material and misinformation as reasons for proposing the temporary suspension of social media platforms. A meeting of the Standing Committee of the Cabinet on Law and Order discussed security and administrative arrangements for Muharram, deciding to consider the suspension of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram from Muharram 6 to 11 to prevent potential sectarian violence.

During Muharram, faithful observe processions nationwide while religious scholars address large gatherings under stringent security measures, with thousands of law enforcement personnel deployed to maintain public safety throughout the month.

The decision on whether to suspend social media platforms during Muharram remains a topic of significant public interest and scrutiny. While security concerns are paramount, the potential impact on communication and information exchange during a religiously significant period also weighs heavily.

The federal government’s stance, pending further review, reflects the delicate balance between maintaining security and preserving digital freedoms. As the country prepares for Muharram, stakeholders await clarity on how best to navigate these complex considerations to ensure both safety and civil liberties are upheld.

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