Pakistan Broke UN Agreement on Internet Access 7 Times Since 2021

Pakistan pledged to uphold free internet in the 2021 UN resolution, yet imposed 7 restrictions since, according to cybersecurity company and VPN provider Surfshark.

The UN resolution in question aims to protect and promote human rights, but some supporting countries have broken their word, including Pakistan.

Surfshark conducted a study analyzing UN countries’ stances in the 2021 UN Human Rights Council (HRC) Resolution on the promotion, protection, and enjoyment of human rights on the internet.

By comparing countries’ stances with data from Surfshark’s Internet Shutdown Tracker, Surfshark was able to identify 15 countries that claimed to support the resolution but later “broke their word” by imposing internet restrictions.

Pakistan has gone against the 2021 resolution 7 times already, with 3 of these cases happening within the past month amid the arrest of former prime minister Imran Khan.

In 2022, the internet was also restricted 3 times: once when Khan organized a march to the capital, and twice when Khan’s speech was being broadcast live. Pakistan holds the third-highest number of restrictions that took place after (or during) the 2021 resolution among the countries that also “broke their word”, behind Sudan and India.

Surfshark spokeswoman Gabriele Racaityte-Krasauske says:

The UN resolution on human rights on the Internet aims to make countries openly condemn these shutdowns and other ways of restricting online speech. However, it’s concerning that even though 15 countries publicly supported the resolution, they still imposed internet restrictions.

The countries that supported the 2021 UN resolution but “broke their word” were India, Sudan, Cuba, Uzbekistan, Burkina Faso, Pakistan, Senegal, Russia, Brazil, Armenia, Indonesia, Mauritania, Nigeria, Somalia, and Ukraine.


Surfshark’s Internet Shutdown Tracker reveals that there were a total of 66 internet disruptions in these 15 countries during or after the adoption of the resolution.

  • India stands out as the country that has “broken its word” the most, with 21 internet disruptions since the resolution’s adoption in 2021 (if we included the Jammu & Kashmir region, this number would be even higher).
  • Sudan holds the second-highest number of restrictions (9) that took place after the country supported the 2021 resolution, the first one happening amid the 2021 military coup.
  • Nigeria and Ukraine had ongoing restrictions at the time of the resolution’s adoption but had no new restrictions since then. Nigeria had banned Twitter a month before the adoption, and the restriction lasted until January 2022. As for Ukraine, it blocked popular Russian apps back in 2017 as part of sanctions in response to the annexation of Crimea, which is still in place.

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