Lahore [Pakistan], May 11 (ANI): The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday issued notices to the federal government and others over the suspension of internet services across the country as protests broke out after the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, ARY News reported.
The Lahore High Court, while hearing the petition, filed by Lawyer Abuzar Salman Khan Niazi, has sought a reply from the authorities by May 22.
In the petition, lawyer Abuzar Salman pleaded before the court to order the restoration of internet services and social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as per ARY News.
The petition said, “This right has been conferred on the people of Pakistan under Article 19-A of the Constitution. The same cannot be abridged, curtailed and eliminated through imposition of blanket ban, prohibition orders. Thus, the impugned blockage of the internet service is liable to be set aside.”
On Wednesday, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) said that internet services across the country will remain suspended for an indefinite period, reported ARY News.
Internet services were suspended in Pakistan after protests were witnessed all across the country following former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan’s arrest in the Al-Qadir Trust case.
The petition also said that the decision to block mobile broadband services was taken on the instructions of the Ministry of Interior, ARY News reported.
Earlier on Wednesday, Human rights group Amnesty International also called on the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to restore internet services in the country and access to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
Taking to its official Twitter handle, Amnesty International South Asia, Regional Office stated, “Pakistan: Amid concerns about escalating clashes between Imran Khan’s supporters and the police, Amnesty International is alarmed by reports that Pakistani authorities have suspended mobile internet and access to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.”
In another tweet, Amnesty International South Asia, Regional Office stated, “This restricts people’s access to information and freedom of expression. We call upon the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority and Interior Ministry to immediately reverse this ban.”
A PTA spokesperson said that the mobile broadband services were blocked after videos of violent protests were shared widely on social media platforms as unrest flared up following the arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan, as per The News International report.
According to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) spokesperson, the regulatory authority was receiving reports of social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram being down, as per the news report.
After the arrest of Imran Khan, a series of protests across Pakistan including Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Faisalabad, Karachi, Quetta, Mardan, Bannu, and Chilas has been unleashed by the PTI cadres.
Protesters in Pakistan entered compounds of army commanders in Lahore and Rawalpindi according to multiple Pakistan media reports after Imran Khan’s arrest. Several videos surfacing on social media platforms show groups of men, some with their faces covered, entering the gated premises of GHQ with sticks, which they later were seen using to hit the walls. (ANI)
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