The space for debate in Pakistan is shrinking with every passing day. What can be more ironic that even an academic discussion containing references to the provisions of the constitution can be seen as in contravention to the law of Pakistan? Twitter claims that it received ‘official correspondence’ that the tweets of a Pakistani lawyer on the legality of the military courts violate Pakistani law. No wonder that paranoia – genetic component of the state – must have forced someone with knowledge almost zero of the law got an adrenaline rush over Reema’s tweet to complaint to the micro-blogging site. The Information Minister Fawad Chaudhary is adamant to admit that the government is not involved in the incidence. We will accept what Fawad Chaudhry maintains over the issue.

However, there are two things that the government must look into. First, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) needs to look into the matter and find out the person responsible for sending such messages to social media sites on behalf of the government. It is a clear breach of security and privacy. Reema Omar asked questions on similar lines. It is not the first time that someone has complained of receiving notices from Twitter labelling their tweets in violation with Pakistani law. Prompt and swift action against the culprit will convince us that the government does allow academic debate and that it is not afraid of any academic discussion.

Second, and probably more alarming trend that government wants to ignore but it should not is that such correspondence to Twitter wants suppression of the freedom of expression in the country. The response of Twitter after receiving ‘official correspondence’ helps create an environment where the users of social media will be forced to think twice before putting their thoughts, words anywhere. The official correspondence is not short of an intimidating tactic at use against those who dissent against the state actions. Such moves automatically harm the idea of pluralism that Pakistan is in dire need of.