The Government of Pakistan announced new social media rules yesterday which included heavy fines up to Rs. 500 million and aggressive deadlines to remove content.

The stakeholders, local Internet Service Providers along with top social media giants have rejected the proposed social media laws and have threatened to leave the country if they are not amended.

The rules titled, “Removal and Blocking of Unlawful Online Content (Procedure, Oversight and Safeguards) Rules 2020,” have been framed under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 (Peca) in the past.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Imran Khan promised to initiate a “broad-based” consultation on content regulation after a strong backlash from stakeholders over the release of formally known as the Citizen Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules 2020.

According to a recent statement from “Asia Internet Coalition,” they regretted that the government didn’t involve all stakeholders to form social media laws. PM Imran Khan had earlier committed that the government will consult to frame a flexible strategy but now it seems they have taken another U-Turn. The new policies give a lot of power to PTA and the AIC has warned that if this continues, it will be extremely difficult for them to continue to provide services in Pakistan.