IHC Directs Govt to Restore Internet Service in Former FATA

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has directed the government to take appropriate measures to restore the internet 3G/4G facilities in the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

According to the written order of the IHC access to the internet is a constitutionally guaranteed right and is an integral part of the fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 19 and 19-A of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973.

The petitioner is a student belonging to District Parachannar, which was an agency in the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The agency was merged as a district in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The written order states,

The petitioner is aggrieved because of respondents no. 1 and 2 (Federation of Pakistan through M/o Information Technology), have denied him and the general public the right of access to the internet. The learned counsel has, inter alia, contended that access to the internet is a constitutionally guaranteed right and is an integral part of the fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 19 and 19-A of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973. The learned counsel has further contended that on account of lockdown, the students are required to have access to the internet. He has, therefore, argued that the students and the general public of the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas cannot be denied their constitutionally guaranteed rights by refusing to give access to internet. Let notices be issued to respondents no. 1 and 2.

Both respondents were directed to nominate their respective authorized officers to appear before the court on the next date of hearing and explain why access to internet has been denied to the petitioner and the general public of the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

The respondents were also directed to submit a report before the next date of hearing. In the meanwhile, respondents are directed to take appropriate measures to restore the internet 3G/4G facilities in the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas. 4. Relist on 20.04.2020.

The petition shall be taken up at 10.00 a.m. The office is directed to serve a copy of this order on respondents no. 1 and 2 through a special messenger for compliance. C.M. No. 01 of 2020”, maintained in the order.


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