As it refused to stop an online competition to post images of Prophet Mohammad

Pakistan on Sunday blocked the micro-blogging social networking site Twitter for about 12 hours because it refused to stop promoting an online competition on Facebook to post images of Prophet Mohammad.

According to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Chairman Mohammed Yaseen, Facebook agreed to address Pakistan's concerns but Twitter refused to oblige.

Negotiations, he said, went on till late Saturday night and when Twitter did not comply, the Ministry of Information Technology issued instructions to block the micro-blogging website.

The ban came into effect around 11 a.m. (local time) on Sunday as the twitterati of the country were tweeting till about that time.

Maintaining that PTA just forwarded the Ministry's instructions to all Internet Service Providers, including mobile phone companies to block Twitter, Mr. Yaseen added that this restriction would be lifted once the micro-blogging site addressed Pakistan's concerns. The ban was lifted around 10.30 p.m.

The government's action evoked a mixed response with some welcoming the move while many wondering why Pakistan had to be so sensitive as there were no reports of other Islamic countries blocking either Facebook or Twitter.

Twitter and Facebook are hugely popular among the netizens of the country with many finding it the safest avenue to vent their angst over contentious issues.