Sindh High Court Bans PTA and Govt From Shutting Down Internet Until Elections

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has issued a significant directive, mandating uninterrupted internet access for all citizens until the upcoming general elections on February 8.

In an order issued on Wednesday, the high court explicitly prohibited the suspension of internet services by the authorities. It has further instructed the relevant parties to present their responses by January 29.

Jibran Nasir, an advocate and dedicated human rights activist, took the initiative to file a petition with the SHC addressing the recurring issue of internet service suspensions within the country.

With political campaigns gaining momentum in anticipation of the upcoming elections scheduled for the following month, users have faced multiple instances of internet disruptions in recent days. Notably, there was a second occurrence of social media platform outages specifically on January 20th, affecting platforms such as Facebook, X, Instagram, and YouTube.

In the aftermath of an extensive disruption that occurred just last week, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) attributed the nationwide internet outage to a “technical fault” within its optic fiber network.

Here is what the PTA said through a publicly shared statement on X:

The recent disruption in internet services was caused by a technical fault, which has been promptly rectified. Internet services have been fully restored nationwide.

Reports from DownDetector, the global web outage tracker, indicated that the outage not only affected Google services but also impacted the operations of the internet service provider PTCL.

Advocate Jibran Nasir pointed out how these outages are always targeted at censoring Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) election campaigns lately and that the party deserves a fair shot at the looming general actions.

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