What a coincidence that Pakistan imposes a ban on TikTok within weeks of similar restrictions imposed by USA, India and Saudi Arabia on grounds that these social media sites are being used for sharing indecent/ immoral short videos. This app is owned by BitDance, a multi-billion Chinese company worth over US$100 Billion. The question arises whether TikTok is the only application on which immoral videos are shared and similar videos are not being shared by other internet-based social media sites. It is unfortunate that such knee jerk decisions reflect upon the conflicts of interest of those in corridors of power, with split loyalties and family assets located in the West.

The US administration has embarked on a selective banning and restrictions of Chinese companies starting with Huawei and now Tiktok citing that these companies are involved in activities detrimental to US national security interests. India has followed suit and imposed restrictions. Internet-based social media sites owned by companies located in USA, Europe, Singapore etc have been involved in propagating Islamophobia, blasphemous and immoral videos against our Prophet (PBUH) and other prominent religious individuals. Banning them is not the solution but will only serve to impede the spread of scientific knowledge and research in Pakistan. Effective regulation of such applications requires that the Pakistani state employs the best and most qualified people at the helm, instead of politicised appointments or retired civil or uniformed bureaucrats.

It is the role of electronic regulatory agencies to regulate and control the information shared on them instead of banning them. BitDance which owns Tiktok will be dissuaded from investment in Pakistan. These applications can be used for education and sharing of scientific knowledge by many in Pakistan.