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NYT: Pakistan blocked Facebook to preempt rioting

Salman Masood, blogging on the At War blog on The New York Times, writes about reasons why Pakistan was so quick to block access to Facebook
and other social sites due to Everybody Draw Mohammad Day.

The weak political government of President Asif Ali Zardari is under pressure from an assertive judiciary. Discontent among the public is also on the rise because of frequent power failures and steep price hikes.

The hasty decision of the government to impose such a wide ban on Web sites was perhaps an effort to thwart any possibility of public anger snowballing over the volatile religious issue.

Blasphemy and alleged cases of blasphemy have often resulted in violent riots in the country. Minority Christians have long maintained that blasphemy laws in Pakistan are used to settle personal scores and vendettas.

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