The Shehbaz government finally speaks truth on closure of X — says it has shut it down — what a shame

The Shehbaz government finally speaks truth on closure of X -- says it has shut it down -- what a shame

By Irum Saleem

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Wednesday finally spoke truth on closure of popular microblogging platform X (formerly Twitter).

   The PTA informed the Sindh High Court (SHC) that the ban on social media platform X across the country since February 17 was imposed on orders issued by the Ministry of Interior following reports given by intelligence agencies.

   What a shame for the government that it kept lying for over a month that it hadn’t banned X.

   The X website has been offline since February 17, with occasional service restorations, mainly after former commissioner Rawalpindi Liaquat Ali Chatta made a statement in front of the media claiming that the “elections were rigged”.

   On Tuesday, PTA Chairman Hafeezur Rehman declared that he would raise the issue of X’s disruption with the interior ministry.

     In a telephonic conversation with, Rehman, a retired major general, said: “Either the matter should be cleared or someone should take responsibility for it. The closure of social media forums is always directed by the interior ministry.”

      Apparently to consolidate his government’s ‘stiff measures’ regarding social media, interior minister Mohsin Naqvi cited the example of the United States, saying even it was not tolerating such stuff on social media.

     “Even in a country like the US the ban has been imposed on TikTok after such (negative criticism) things. We also need to review our laws to regulate the social media,” he said on Tuesday.

      Mohsin Naqvi parried a question when asked that top government functionaries including Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz were issuing statements on their X accounts by using illegal means like VPN.

  A day before, federal information minister Attaullah Tarar admitted that X was already banned when the Shehbaz Sharif led government took over the reins from the caretaker setup, saying there was no official notification for the clampdown.

         “The government has made Pakistan a laughing stock in the international community due to the unjustified blockage on social media and the chain of oppression against own citizens,” a PTI spokesperson said and added the unjustified closure of the Internet, especially social media websites on daily basis in order to conceal facts regarding the mandate theft in the general elections provided opportunities to the world to ridicule the country.

     He said the constitution of the country was virtually suspended during the past 23 months and basic constitutional rights were being openly trampled upon under the feet. “It is shameful that X has remained blocked in the country for over one month now. We fully endorse 28 civil society organisations’ demand for immediate removal of ban on the social media platform allowing free flow of information as should be the case in a democratic country,” the PTI spokesperson said. PAK DESTINY

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