Lahore, Jul 5: The government in Pakistan's Punjab province is now set to ban all social media platforms -- YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok -- for six days between July 13 and 18, citing the need to control "hate material" during the Islamic month of Muharram.

Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz's cabinet committee on law and order has recommended banning all social media platforms -- YouTube, X, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, among others -- during the 6th to 11th day of Muharram (July 13-18) in Punjab, a province of over 120 million people, to "control hate material, misinformation to avoid sectarian violence", according to a notification issued here late Thursday night.

The Punjab government has also requested her uncle Shehbaz Sharif's government at the Centre to notify the suspension of all social media platforms on the internet for six days (July 13-18).

The provincial government has decided to go beyond the routine measures of internet suspension and mobile jamming over Ashura, after getting reports that ‘external forces', including elements from across the border, were involved in the sharing of hate content and memes, Dawn News reported.

Sources said the Punjab government had initially deliberated that social media apps be shut down on Muharram 9 and 10.

Muharram -- the period of recalling and mourning the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain by the community of Shia Muslims -- marks the first month of the Islamic Calendar.

A greater amount of importance is placed on the first ten days of the festival. On the tenth day, Shia Muslims take out processions via streets.

Cabinet Minister Syed Ashiq Hussain Kirmani acknowledged that the cabinet committee had put forward a suggestion to close social media apps to avoid dissemination of hate content.

Kirmani said a meeting over the issue discussed that hate content increases manifolds on social media apps, particularly Facebook and X during Muharram, which eventually becomes a bone of contention between two sects instead of the two persons involved.

“Dissemination of hate content creates bad blood and spoils the overall environment, particularly during Muharram,” he said and added that shutting down social media apps was recommended before, during and a day after Muharram.

Pakistan Army Chief Gen Asim Munir has already declared social media a "vicious media" and underscored the need to fight what he called "digital terrorism".

Pakistan's Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar, who also holds the portfolio of foreign minister, recently called for placing a complete ban on social media.

The Shehbaz Sharif government had shut down X last February following allegations of change of general election results by the Election Commission of Pakistan, apparently on the order of the military establishment to stop Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party's jailed founder Imran Khan from coming to power.

Both the military and the government have been receiving backlash on social media since the ouster of former prime minister Imran Khan through a no-confidence motion in April 2022.

The government has arrested dozens of social media activists of Khan's party since then. PTI