Government of Pakistan, Not PTA, Responsible for Mobile Phone Suspensions

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has said that it is not responsible, in any manner, for suspending Mobile phone services in Pakistan during certain occasions, and that it only implements directions issued by Government of Pakistan.

A PTA counsel revealed this in Islamabad High Court yesterday where a petition filed by common men against suspension of mobile phone services was being heard.

PTA disclosed that it could not order suspension of mobile phone service of its own and that whenever any such orders are received from Government of Pakistan, regulator just gets them implemented.

PTA said that these suspension directives from Government of Pakistan — through Interior Ministry usually — bound PTA to shut down mobile services within six hours of the directive.

PTA also disclosed that suspension directives also come from law enforcement agencies, Inter-Services Intelligence or the army.

Islamabad High Court (IHC), after hearing PTA counsel, issued a notice to the Attorney General of Pakistan to present the federal government’s stance over the frequent suspension of mobile phone services.

Also Read: Internet Shutdowns in Pakistan Cost the Country $70 Million Last Year

Petitioners have maintained that any mobile phone suspensions are illegal since it is not covered in Section 54 of the PTA Act, which states that cellular services can only be suspended during a proclaimed emergency.

Petition also argues that as per Act, any mobile phone suspension could only be ordered by the prime minister of Pakistan after discussing with entire federal cabinet.

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