Monday February 26, 2024

Internet in Pakistan to remain shut if chaos persists: minister

Rana Sanaullah also hints at Imran Khan's arrest after May 17

By Web Desk
May 12, 2023
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah. — APP/File
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah. — APP/File   

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Friday said the government will seek guidance from Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif regarding the blocked internet services if the chaotic situation in the country persists.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority blocked mobile broadband services across the country on May 9 following protests that erupted after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan's arrest.

Enraged PTI supporters resorted to violence attacking military and government buildings in Lahore, Rawalpindi, and Peshawar, while the demonstrations also led to the death of at least nine people.

Earlier on Thursday, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said that mobile internet services will hopefully be restored in the next 36 hours.

But speaking to Geo News today, the interior minister said that these people who caused damage to public property plan everything on the internet.

"Many of these vandals have been identified and their arrests might take some time, till then, the internet services will remain shut," said the interior minister while speaking to Geo News.

“There are many people who used these services legally and they are the ones losing out so we have to keep that under surveillance,” Sanaullah said.

He said that the people who caused damage to the buildings during the protests connected with each on social media.

“Their entire work is done on the internet including the planning and the abuse, all of it is done on social media," said Sanaullah.

Khan's arrest after May 17

He also hinted at the arrest of the PTI chief after May 17, the day when his bail expires in the cases registered against him for the violent protests that took place after his May 9 arrest.

In double relief for Khan, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) granted two-week protective bail to the former prime minister in the Al-Qadir Trust case and also barred authorities concerned from arresting him till Wednesday (May 17) in any new case filed after May 9.

The IHC granted protective bail to the PTI chairman in the Al-Qadir Trust case hours after he warned of countrywide unrest if he was arrested again.

Commenting on IHC's decision, Sanaullah told Geo News that if the court gives Khan protective bail, then he will not be arrested at all.

He said that the court orders will be implemented and Khan will not be arrested till May 17, adding that the senior officers were told to take instructions from the advocate general.

"If there is a reason for his arrest, then he will be arrested," said Sanaullah.

The interior minister said that what the PTI did in the last two-three days is intolerable. "The courts can facilitate them but as per the law, we will take action against their anti-state and terror activities," said Sanaullah.

While speaking about the Supreme Court's verdict to release Khan and terming his arrest illegal, Sanaullah said that whatever has happened as of yet was "unprecedented". He said that the facilitation being provided to this "ladla (blue-eyed boy)" should then be applied to everyone.

"There is no example of such judicial decisions and means of facilitation are being invented," said the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) leader.

When asked if Khan will be arrested as his party workers were involved in vandalising an important installation in Lahore, Sanaullah said: "We have all the evidence from every single day, we have his speeches. The cases have been filed and are still being filed."

He said that the cabinet has condemned yesterday's remarks in the Supreme Court and how he was welcomed after embezzling a huge amount of money.