Pakistan Blocks Access to Twitter, Then Thinks Better of It

Pakistan blocked and then restored access to Twitter today, following the promotion of a "blasphemous and inflammatory" Facebook contest to draw the Muslim prophet Mohammed.

The ban occurred after Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik had insisted there were no plans to block the site, tweeting—

Dear all, I assure u that Twitter and FB will continue in our country and it will not be blocked. Pl do not believe in rumors

Nevertheless, Twitter was unavailable for about 12 hours.

Mohammad Younis Khan, spokesperson for Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, said that while Pakistan's IT ministry had contacted Facebook and Twitter, only Facebook had responded. Twitter's silence led the ministry to order the temporary ban.

Although Khan confirmed that the ministry ordered the ban lifted, he could not say why they had changed their minds.

Human Rights Watch called Pakistan's shut-down of Twitter "ill-advised, counterproductive and futile."

[Image via Annette Shaff/Shutterstock]