Twitter blocked, then restored in Pakistan over 'Draw Muhammad' row

Twitter blocked, then restored in Pakistan over 'Draw Muhammad' row was down for 8 hours on Saturday

The Pakistani government instructed the country's internet service providers to block access to Twitter on Sunday, knocking the social network's website out for eight hours.

The row erupted over a competition, actually hosted on Facebook, asking for people to post caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, which is deemed blasphemous and highly offensive to some Muslims.

While Facebook agreed to listen to the government's concerns, on the planned "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day" scheduled for May 20, Twitter, apparently, did not.

That caused the country's Minister of Information Technology to order the ISPs to "block with immediate effect."

Chairman of the country's Telecommunication's Authority, Mohammad Yaseen, added: "We have been negotiating with them until last night, but they did not agree to remove the stuff, so we had to block it."

Access now restored

Access to the Twitter site had been blocked for 8 hours on Sunday, but it had no real effect on the ability to tweet, with users able to use smartphones and download apps to avoid the ban.

According to the Washington Post the blockade has now been lifted following an intervention from Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

It seems there may have been some indecision at the top of the government over the decision to block Twitter, with the Minister of Information Technology possibly acting without approval.

Chris Smith

A technology journalist, writer and videographer of many magazines and websites including T3, Gadget Magazine and He specializes in applications for smartphones, tablets and handheld devices, with bylines also at The Guardian, WIRED, Trusted Reviews and Wareable. Chris is also the podcast host for The Liverpool Way. As well as tech and football, Chris is a pop-punk fan and enjoys the art of wrasslin'.