On Monday, the TLP staged nationwide protests following the arrest of group leader Saad Hussain Rizvi. TLP supporters were confronted by law enforcement agencies in which many people were killed and more than 300 policemen were injured. The Interior Ministry took the step to stop the protests after Friday prayers. The ministry directed the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority to shut down the social media service PST (GMT + 5) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The PTA said in a notification that “services on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube and B and Telegram are being shut down almost completely.” The organization did not give a reason for the shutdown. Official sources said the protesters could have used social media to damage public property.
It is already common in Pakistan to shut down internet and mobile phone services to prevent protests and terrorist incidents. This time only social media was banned. This is because reports suggest that TLP is using social media against government action. On Thursday, Home Minister Sheikh Rashid Mohammed also warned the TLP to upload his campaign video on YouTube.
TLP made headlines in November 2017. At the time, the capital was cut off from the old international airport by a dharna in Faizabad, near Islamabad. At that time, Pakistan was ruled by the Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). Then Imran Khan (the current Prime Minister) and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party supported the protest.