The online sharing site Wikipedia has been blocked in Pakistan due to “blasphemous content,” a highly sensitive issue in the Muslim-majority country, the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority said Saturday.

Milhat Obaid, a spokesman for the authority, told AFP that Wikipedia was blocked across the country on Friday “after failing to comply with our repeated request to remove obscene content and not meeting a deadline,” reports Al-Rai daily.

The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority, which gave Wikipedia until Friday to remove this content, did not provide any details about it. “They removed some of the (concerned) content, but not all of it,” the spokesperson added, adding that Wikipedia “will remain blocked until all controversial content is removed.”

An AFP correspondent indicated that the encyclopedia could not be accessed from a mobile phone on Saturday.

The Wikimedia Foundation, which operates Wikipedia, said in a statement that the block “prevents the world’s fifth most populous country from accessing the world’s largest free source of knowledge”.

“If this continues, it will also deny the world access to Pakistani knowledge, history and culture,” the statement added.

Digital rights activist Osama Khalaji said the Wikipedia block is the result of “a concerted effort to exercise greater control over internet content”.

“The main goal is to silence any opposition,” he told AFP, noting that “blasphemy is often used for this purpose.”

In the past, some pages of the encyclopedia were censored in Pakistan.

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