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Mr. Khan came to power in Pakistan in 2018, partly because of his party's strong influence on media, and he acknowledged this fact in his speech. But now that he is in charge, he has little patience for online criticism.

Pakistan's strong military also opposes debate on social media platforms, especially on , which critics use to question human rights violations and military participation in politics.

Transparency reports released by the two show that over the past two years, the Pakistani has asked , Google and Twitter to delete content sharply. Pakistan revealed in September that it has blocked 900,000 web pages for a variety of reasons, including pornography, blasphemy and sentiment towards the country and the military.

Separately, regulators in Pakistan have proposed requiring online video sites to obtain a license from the government.

Mohamed Aftab Alam, executive director of the Pakistan Institute for Public Policy Research, Advocacy and Development, said there is good reason to believe that the government is surpassing its authority with new rules.

"This national coordinator is also a judge, jury, regulator and executor," he said.

Pakistani courts have filed at least two lawsuits challenging the rules.

Raja Ahsan Masood filed a petition asking the court to declare them unconstitutional, "the main purpose of the petitions seems to be to control social media through indirect control by the government and the ruling party."

Vindu Goel was reported in Mumbai and Salman Masood was reported in Islamabad, Pakistan. Zia ur-Rehman provided reports from Karachi, Pakistan and Davey Alba from New York.

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