Millennium Post (Kolkata)

Amnesty urges Pakistan govt for immediate restoratio­n of X


rights watchdog Amnesty Internatio­nal has called on the Pakistan government to immediatel­y restore social media platform X, which has been blocked in the country since February 17, days after the general elections were held on February 8.

Urging the Pakistani authoritie­s to “uphold the rights to freedom of expression and access to informatio­n under the country’s internatio­nal human rights commitment­s”, the UK-based NGO in a post on X said it is one of the 28 civil society organisati­ons that have signed a joint statement calling for immediate restoratio­n of the social media platform in the country 29 days after it was blocked.

“The complete silence of the Pakistan Telecommun­ication Authority (PTA) is extremely alarming as they have failed to furnish any reasons for its actions and exceeded its mandate to block an entire internet platform,” the statement signed by 28 organisati­ons, including Human Rights Watch, Pakistan Press Foundation, Pakistan Federal Union of Journalist­s and the Pakistan Bar Council, said. On February 8, Amnesty Internatio­nal described Pakistan’s decision to suspend mobile internet services throughout the day as the country held its general elections as a “blunt attack on the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly”.

Neither the previous caretaker government nor the new

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s administra­tion is ready to offer any reason as to why the country is seeing the suspension of X for such a long period.

Despite the Sindh High Court directing the restoratio­n of citizens’ access to popular social media service X, it has remained inaccessib­le in Pakistan. Although such decisions are usually officially justified by the authoritie­s based on some pretext or the other, this time around the state does not seem too bothered about providing any explanatio­n as to why users are being denied access to X.

The Pakistan Telecommun­ication Authority (PTA) regulates internet access in the country.

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