SHC ordered to stop internet suspension until 2024 elections

SHC ordered to stop internet suspension

SHC ordered to stop internet suspension until 2024 elections

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has ordered the relevant authorities to stop internet suspension until the general elections on Feb 8, 2024. SHC ordered the interim federal government and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to stop internet suspension and maintain continuous internet access until polling day.

A two-member bench led by SHC Chief Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi gave this order in its ruling. This order came after a petition of human rights defender and lawyer Jibran Nasir.

Jibran is running for constituency PS-110 as an independent candidate in the Sindh Assembly. So, he filed a complaint in response to recent unconstitutional internet outages in Pakistan.

It came after three major internet disruptions happened in the last month. The first disruption was on Dec 17, 2023, the second was on Jan 7, 2024, and the most recent was on Jan 20, 2024.

A worldwide internet watchdog, Netblocks, stated that live analytics showed a national-level disruption to social media platforms across Pakistan.

A day earlier, interim Information Minister Murtaza Solangi blamed “technical issues” for recent nationwide internet disruptions. He said there was no certainty that such instances would not occur again. Meanwhile, PTA also described the reason for the third internet disruption as a technical fault.

Click here to read the updates on nationwide disruption hits Meta & other Social Media in Pakistan

The internet suspensions coincided with the virtual summits of the political party PTI. PTI has also filed an appeal recently to the Supreme Court to take notice of the interruption of prominent social media apps such as X, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

However, Nasir argued in his petition that shutting down internet services was unconstitutional, illegal, unjustified, unreasonable, and without lawful authority.

He demanded the suspension of any measures banning access to social media sites until the general election. Hence, he cited the PTA, the Interior Ministry, and the Information Technology and Telecommunications Ministry as respondents in his appeal.

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