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Pakistan

X users continue to face disruption in Pakistan for 3rd consecutive day

  • Interim government keeps mum on unprecedented blockage of the social networking platform
Published February 19, 2024

Netizens in Pakistan continued to face disruption in accessing X, formerly Twitter, for the third consecutive day on Monday as the interim government kept mum on an unprecedented blockage of the social networking platform.

Internet monitor Netblocks on February 17 reported a nationwide disruption to X in Pakistan, which has continued till date.

The development comes after political parties in the country alleged election rigging in the February 8 polls that were conducted amid suspension of cellular services in the country.

General Elections 2024: polling ends as Pakistan marred by ‘disconnect’

Social media platforms have seen disruptions multiple times in Pakistan. However, this current scenario is unique as users have reportedly been using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to access the platform for the last three days, while official communication on the topic has been at a minimum.

According to an Al Jazeera report published on Monday, Caretaker Minister for Interior Gohar Ejaz, when asked about the outage, said he was not aware of any such restrictions. “No knowledge. it doesn’t come under interior [ministry],” he told the Qatar-based media platform via a WhatsApp message.

Al Jazeera said Caretaker Minister for Information, Murtaza Solangi and Caretaker Minister for Information Technology, Umar Saif did not respond to multiple questions on the disruption.

Commissioner claims poll results ‘manipulated’

“Officials at the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the state regulatory body, did not respond to multiple questions on the closure but indicated that the PTA is only a regulatory body which enforces orders issued by the government,” it added.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said disruption or shutting down the internet or any social media platforms “bleed online businesses and commerce and adds to the misery of an already fragile and struggling economy”.

“It also infringes on people’s right to democratic decision making, information and expression. This practice must stop immediately,” the HRCP demanded.

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