After Pakistan banned Facebook in a bid to stop it hosting “blasphemous” pictures of Prophet Mohammad, the country's interior minister found a new way to get his online fix. He jumped on Twitter. Interior Minister Rehman Malik said his son told him that if he couldn't get on Facebook, where he has his own page which hosts pictures of dignitaries and has 691 fans, he should Tweet.

Malik already has more than 270 followers, according to his page (including this correspondent), far less than the “countless” ones he said he had after only a few days. Many people writing to him question if indeed the account is real (it is) or complain that he should be governing instead of tweeting. Malik's tweets give no hint the digital hecklers bother him. He calls for unity in the face of violence in Karachi and comments on how nice it is to meet so many women parliamentarians from around Asia. He also freely engages with his followers, an unusual practice in Pakistan's stratified political culture.

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