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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Mobile Internet Services Restored in Pakistan Following 72-Hour Disruption

Mobile internet services have been reinstated in Pakistan after a disruption lasting more than 72 hours, allowing citizens to regain access to popular social media platforms including YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

The internet shutdown was implemented in the aftermath of the arrest of former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman, Imran Khan, which led to violent protests across the country and posed threats to law and order and national security. As a result, public access to mobile internet and social media was restricted nationwide.

In compliance with directives from the Ministry of Interior, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority restricted access to mobile internet services and several social media websites, including YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, for Pakistani citizens.

The inability to access platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others had a profound impact on mobile companies and the freelancing industry within the country.

The social media ban raised concerns among various countries, including the United States, which expressed anxiety over the situation. Amnesty International also issued a notice, highlighting the infringement on freedom of expression and urging the Pakistani government to restore internet access and respect citizens’ rights.

The suspension of mobile broadband services resulted in significant financial losses for digital service providers, the government, and the general population.

Mobile broadband services and access to social media platforms remained suspended for a fourth consecutive day in several parts of the country until Friday, following the riots triggered by the arrest of PTI Chairman Imran Khan on May 9.

According to a report published on Thursday, the suspension led to an estimated revenue loss of at least Rs820 million for telecom operators, while the government lost approximately Rs287 million in tax revenue. Individuals relying on digital apps and payments, such as Careem, InDrive, FoodPanda, and others, also suffered significant financial losses.

The IT industry, already facing pressure due to alleged poor governmental policies and a lack of continuity, came to a standstill during the internet suspension.

Widespread Blackouts Continue while Government says Power Has Been “Completely Restored”

Additionally, a writ petition was filed in the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday, requesting the relevant authorities to restore cellular internet services and access to all social media platforms. The petition argued that the imposed blockage was arbitrary, illegal, unlawful, and unconstitutional, as it violated the basic rights of the public.

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