Pakistan: Prima facie, social media being managed -SHC


Sindh High Court (SHC) Chief Justice (CJ) Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi said Tuesday prima facie social media platforms were being managed – and the names of people causing the disruption would not remain hidden for too long.

The court’s remark came in response to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA)’s reply submitted during the hearing of pleas against the suspension of internet and social media platform, X, formerly known as Twitter. The inaccessibility of social media platform X – which is an important source of information, started in the country before the February 8 general election, while the country also faced complete internet suspension during the polling.

Since then, netizens have been facing sporadic disruptions and hindrances in accessing the social media platform despite SHC’s stay order directing the authorities to ensure uninterrupted internet access.

A two-member bench headed by CJ Abbasi and comprising Justice Abdul Mobeen Lakho presided over the hearing.

The PTA informed the court in its response that it had no role in suspending or slowing down social media platforms.

“The PTA does not have any tool to slow down or suspend the internet,” the authority’s lawyer apprised the court.

He said that the Ministry of Interior and other agencies had suspended the cellular and internet services due to security concerns. “We emailed the mobile companies to suspend the services on February 8 and restore the services on February 9,” the PTA lawyer added. At this, the CJ expressed ire, saying that the X is still not accessible.

“What action has been taken against any company that doesn’t comply with the PTA’s orders,” he asked. He remarked that the internet is being controlled in different ways. “You said the internet was suspended in the light of the May 9 events. Some political parties weren’t allowed to campaign. You see the internet is not working properly till this day,” the justice added. During the hearing, the petitioner’s lawyer expressed objection, asking if X would be suspended if anyone claimed that “all the terrorists have gathered on X”.__Daily Times