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Cartoons rock Pak, Twitter blocked briefly

The Pakistani authorities blocked access to Twitter on Sunday for half a day on the ground that it was being used to publicise a contest for blasphemous caricatures of the prophet Mohammed on Facebook. The move came hours after the interior minister Rehman Malik’s claim in a message posted on Twitter early this morning that no restrictions would be imposed on the popular micro-blogging site.

The information technology ministry of Pakistan said that Twitter had been blocked for publicising ‘blasphemous and inflammatory content’. Calls for participation in the contest for blasphemous caricatures were being made on Twitter, it said.

The ministry said that Twitter was blocked after it failed to respond to several requests from Pakistan for taking action against the blasphemous content. The ministry claimed that it had contacted Twitter several times, but the site’s administrators had failed to respond.

The users from across Pakistan reported that they were unable to access the site on their computers and mobile phones since the afternoon on Sunday. An estimated six million people use Twitter in Pakistan. Earlier, Malik had tweeted that the government had no plans to impose restrictions on Twitter and Facebook. 
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