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TikTok's Hassle with the Banning Culture

Banning culture is not new in Pakistan. First, the government banned social media for a long time, then we had YouTube banned for some time, and adult websites are still banned in Pakistan. It is a custom now to ban everything that produces some conflict or goes against our so-called norms and culture. Now, we see the upsurge against TikTok on social media, by the same people who give it millions of views daily, demanding for its ban. The use of Islamic fundamentalism to gain a political advantage has always been a great tool of governments. Recently, the government banned TikTok by saying that it goes against Islamic norms and culture, and they cannot allow anything that goes against Islam. Maybe, it seems beautiful, but it has drastic effects. It will give power to the state to do anything and legitimize it by using the name of Islam. We have seen this fundamentalistic and conservative paternal state in the era of Gen. Zia where he instituted prayer committees, Bait-ul-Mall or in the era of Bhutto where he threw a particular ethnic group of people out of Islam.

The practice of banning culture also spreads hatred against each other. It gives people a way to oppress others. TikTok is a platform where people record videos and upload them. Some like their videos and some do not. Now, in a society without banning culture, we would ignore the person whose videos we do not like. However, in our society, if people do not like someone, they demand his ban and start to spread hatred against him publicly. More people join sides, and eventually, it starts a conflict in society. Personally, I am not too fond of TikTok, and that is why I do not use it, and I think that is the only way by which we can keep harmony in society. Everyone should have the freedom to make their own decision. The use of banning culture will elevate the conflict in society as well as give power to the state to invade personal lives.

Ali Zulqarnain

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The banning culture basically points out the problematic behavior of the religious extremists in our country and reinforcing patriarchy. It also shows a pattern to control or tame the population every time they collectively stand against an issue. Such people have tailored our religion according to their will. Whatever they find problematic is labelled as “anti-Islamic” and something that is suitable for them is considered perfectly normal. For instance, anything related to Feminism i.e., the Aurat March was labelled as “anti-Islamic” by such people because it gave voice to issues related to women. In the same way, Youtube and TikTok were banned using the "obscenity umbrella". Similarly few weeks ago we observed showing affection to women by their husbands (PDA)…

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Pakistan has a plethora of other social media networks that function similarly to TikTok, the most notable of which being Snack video these days. While I despise the banning culture, the banning of Tiktok but not other similar social media platforms raises a number of concerns in my view. Senator Mian Ateeq strongly criticized the TikTok ban during a press conference. He said that TikTok was prohibited solely to eliminate the competition of Snack video, the owner of which is a relative of PM. The exclusive indictment of TikTok and Mr. Senator's charges made us consider how these political elites use public religious extremism for their own advantage.

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I agree that everyone should have the right to express themselves in however way they want and failure to do so creates unrest and tensions in society. This brings me to the point that simply banning apps does not lead to solutions that the government wants to achieve. Tiktok is banned when the government is pressured by the extremists in Pakistan and then it is unbanned when it wants better relations with China. This way of functioning only frustrates the larger community in Pakistan who have no other platform other than Tiktok to express themselves. Tiktok appears to be a platform that is accessible to all and on this app, all are equal. It crosses barriers of class and I…

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