Amnesty urges Pakistan govt for immediate restoration of X

Islamabad:Human 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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