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Sheikh Rasheed apologized for the temporary suspension of social media services across the country.

Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed on Friday apologized for the temporary suspension of social media services temporarily across the country.

WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook were suspended across the country as the government feared the members of a proscribed organisation would call for protests after Friday prayers, the interior minister said, in a video statement on Twitter.

Rasheed said the government had defeated those spreading terrorism and inciting violence in the country and that it will try its utmost to ensure people are not caused any  inconveniences related to social media in the future.

“The ones who stopped oxygen [vans] and ambulances [from reaching hospitals during protests] were defeated today. We have banned them [the proscribed organisation] and we will move for their dissolution as well,” he said.

The government will block their passports, identity cards, and bank accounts too, the interior minister added.

Social media services down

Services of social media platforms Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp and Telegram were restored in the country earlier in the day after being suspended for four hours.

The interior ministry had directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to block social media platforms from 11am till 3pm.

The request by the interior ministry to suspend the social media platforms was made in a letter sent to the PTA chairman.

The ministry, in the letter, had requested the PTA to take action on the issue “immediately”.

“In order to maintain public order and safety, access to certain social media applications has been restricted temporarily,” PTA had said in its explanation regarding the suspension of services.

The suspension came amid protests by a religious party in the country which led to chaos and the killing of three people, including two policemen.

The protests, organised in different cities, also caused massive traffic jams and distress to the citizens.

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