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Pakistan divided over TikTok ban

A Pakistani seen browsing video-sharing platform TikTok. — AFP/File

Following the ban on video-sharing app TikTok by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Friday, Twitter was flooded with a storm of reactions, with some celebrating the move, while others disappointed by it.

‘Very happy today’

A Twitter user said he is “very happy today” and said the government had “finally” taken “a good step”.

Free from this virus’

Another, likening the short-form video app to a “virus” thanked God that the country is “free” from it.

Sad for Jannat Mirza

Another was sad what it would mean for Jannat Mirza, a social media sensation who after amassing a huge following, had recently breached 10 million followers.

Women robbed of entertainment where socialising isn’t an option

Another said that his aunt from Zhob was an avid follower of the happenings on the app and it formed “an integral part of her entertainment routine”.

“She found joy and humour in the content and a way to pass her time in a place where going out and socialising isn’t an option for women, and now that’s been taken because of insecure people who can’t take criticism,” he said.

He urged people supporting the ban to “develop a thicker skin” instead.

‘Salute’ to PTA

One such user, seeming to be happy over the decision, tweeted a meme to show appreciation to PTA with a salute by a West Indies cricketer.

App provides income and outreach

Journalist Zarrar Khuhro, while responding to someone questioning the promotion of “cringe entertainment apps”, pointed out that the app is an avenue for income and outreach for a lot of people.

“And when you’re trying to invite tech to Pakistan, having some dinosaur ban an app isn’t going to encourage investors,” he said.

Khuhro added that people are free to make their own choices. “[…] no one’s forcing anyone to watch or use TikTok.”

Children dying but government focused on banning TikTok

Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari, daughter of Benazir Bhutto and PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, criticised the ban, saying that while prices of medicines are on the rise, millions have lost jobs and children and vulnerable to rape and murder, “Imran Khan is banning TikTok”.

‘Classist ban’

Another journalist said that TikTok was “the only way poor had a voice in the social media revolution”.

“Make no mistake this isn’t a ban on TikTok. It’s a classist ban on the poor and labour working class so they don’t find a collective conscience,” he said.

He shared a video by two labourers that had gone wildly popular recently and said: “Look at their faces and props. This is the few moments of joy they have in their wear exhausting soul crushing existence.”

“You couldn’t even let them have that. Well done PTI government. Well done,” he added.

‘No need of any caption’

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