When I traveled around Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital last month on an independent reporting project, all the sources I encountered under the age of 40 asked me the same question: “Are you on Facebook?”

The social networking site is massively popular in the Islamic republic, and this week’s ban – and subsequent banning of YouTube and nearly 1,000 other social sites – stifles the communication of a population with very few social freedoms.

The ban, set in place Wednesday, resulted from an admittedly ill-advised Facebook group calling for celebrations and submissions of “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day.” Depicting the prophet is  forbidden in Islam.

While Pakistan is led by a notoriously tight government, they have one of the most open media systems in the world. Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf ushered in an age of journalism allowing dozens of new TV news channels and publications to flourish. While not all of the reporting is responsible, Pakistanis have enjoyed open access to media sources, including websites, for some time.

The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority, which implemented the bans, reacted to the protests of thousands across the country offended by the Facebook group, so the ban is not coming only from the government, but from its citizens.

“I am in favour of freedom of speech and freedom of expression. But there needs to be a fine line drawn. Otherwise freedom of expression can turn into freedom to offend,” Pakistani blogger Kashif Aziz said in a BBC News interview.

Another blogger, however, took the side of many of Pakistan’s young voices, saying although only 8 percent of Pakistanis have internet access, but that it provides a critical means of communication and expression.

"The internet has become a way of life itself. If they continue to block things, this is going to hinder Pakistan’s progress,” said Dr. Awab Alvi to the BBC.

The ban on Facebook could be in place until May 31, and the date for lifting the wall to other sites are being addressed individually.